The Great Debate: James Baldwin, William F. Buckley and the Civil Rights Revolution

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On 18 February 1965, a packed Cambridge Union witnessed a televised debate between James Baldwin, the leading literary voice of the civil rights movement, and William F. Buckley Jr., a fierce critic of the movement and America’s most influential conservative intellectual. The subject was “the American dream is at the expense of the American Negro”. Nicolas Buccola and Raphaël Lambert will revisit this historic occasion and discuss its continuing relevance to the persistent racial divide in the US, accompanied by screenings from the original debate. The event will introduce Buccola’s The Fire Is upon Us: James Baldwin, William F. Buckley Jr., and the Debate over Race in America (Princeton, 2019).

This event is open to the public: all welcome.