There are thousands of writers around the world, but only a handful can be considered impacting. James Baldwin, though controversial in his own time due to his homosexual writings, became a leading black commentator on the suffering and abuse of his people in the United States, which he believed symbolized universal conflicts. Through his own experiences James Baldwin was able to write honest and impacting pieces of writing. His childhood and his relationship with his stepfather was the basis for his most famous novel, Got Tell it on the Mountain. In addition, Baldwin grew up during the Harlem Renaissance. The influence of the African-American arts and writing gave James Baldwin the confidence to become an African-American writer. All of Baldwin's life altering events that began Baldwin's career occurred within one single year. He was discovered as a writer in 1944 while working for a publishing company. After many hostile and depressing years in the United States, Baldwin moved to Paris, France; although, he soon discovered a new form of racism in Paris. James Baldwin's brief return to the United States was to involve himself in the Civil Rights Movement. However, after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., Baldwin returned to France, where he remained for the remainder of his life. The vast majority of Baldwin's work revolved around and issue of Man verses society and Man verses himself. Like other writers of his era, Baldwin took life experiences and emotions and used them as his greatest source of information. Though opinions of James Baldwin's work vary, he is clearly one of the more influential African-American writers of his time.
James Baldwin was born on August 2, 1924 in Harlem, New York. He was an illegitimate child to Emma Berdis Jones. Soon after Baldwin's birth his mother remarried. Baldwin's step father, David Baldwin, was a preacher who had followed the Great Migration North from his home in New Orleans in the 1920.