Billy Holiday singing Strange Fruit, James Baldwin on America’s racial problem and Charlottesville.

Ruth HartleyPolitics, Race, Racism, Writing Process9 Comments



We are the same flesh –

– we are brothers and sisters – we are parents and children – we are lovers and friends – we are all one people – humankind. Until we stop hurting each other in our desire for power we will never know peace and happiness.

The first two films are from more than 60 years ago – the third is from last week.


9 Comments on “Billy Holiday singing Strange Fruit, James Baldwin on America’s racial problem and Charlottesville.”

    1. Ruth Hartley

      I am glad you liked the Baldwin talk. I am only now discovering him and he is a quite exceptional thinker and writer about difficult things.
      I know you have experience of America so you understand it well. The Guardian link looks interesting too. All of this is going to be an important thread in my next book. I think we will see much more that is frightening in the USA because people are armed. Thank you Ann

  1. Lorraine Tennett

    I resorted to the subtitles to try to follow James Baldwin but still found it all confused and confusing.

    1. Ruth Hartley

      Yes – I wasn’t sure what to post of Baldwin’s pieces – this is old film and unclear but I chose it because he was talking to a British audience while he was living in France. It was during the Vietnam war but after the assasinations of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King. When I think of where we were then and what we were doing it ought to be a different world today but we have seen Nazis in America. Baldwin is rather wise when he speaks of love – Love does not begin and end the way we seem to think it does. Love is a battle, love is a war; love is a growing up. he says – I got that from Maria Popova’s wonderful Brainpickings. I think the whole subject is confusing.

  2. Ann

    One of the themes that he started out with is one that occupies me quite a bit, in these days of expatriation, isolationism, etc – is the question of identity (not ‘identity politics’). As Baldwin says, he knew nothing about where he or his family came from originally, as far as he was concerned, he was American. And yet he was considered only sub-standard American by his white fellow-Americans. And he had no choice about having ended up in America. Twenty years ago, he identified it as an issue of power.
    What seems to be happening now is that those who HAD the power are now in a position of having lost all the supports of that power (industrial jobs, American exceptionalism, racial superiority) and they are lashing out.
    My questions about identity are inevitably different, having lived in several different countries, am I more English, more American, more Irish, more French? Would be interesting to talk about that some time, Ruth!

    1. Ruth Hartley

      Hi Ann – identity is central to many of the questions on my blogposts – we are the Citizens of Nowhere according to the politicians but we are in fact citizens of the world. In terms of identity we are probably the most confused people and the the most interesting people since the Roman Empire but nothing seems to stay the same for long. I loved this article
      and I also found this interesting too
      Both from the Walrus coincidentally.
      Yes it would be interesting to talk some time and probably important also.

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