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Blog 9 October 9 secrets of confident body language 23 September Featured educator: John Wolfe 30 August Ace your school projects with these 12 featured Prezi presentations and templates Latest posts. Infogram Charts Infographics. Creating downloadable prezi, be patient. Presumably the children of Leukerbad, like children the world over, were indoors, frowning over computer games, checking Facebook, or watching music videos.
Baldwin had to bring his records with him in the fifties, like a secret stash of medicine, and he had to haul his phonograph up to Leukerbad, so that the sound of the American blues could keep him connected to a Harlem of the spirit. The music you travel with helps you to create your own internal weather.
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At dinner, at a pizzeria, there were glances. A table of British tourists stared at me. But the waitress was part black, and at the hotel one of the staff members at the spa was an older black man. But it is also true that the little pieces of history move around at a tremendous speed, settling with a not-always-clear logic, and rarely settling for long. And perhaps more interesting than my not being the only black person in the village is the plain fact that many of the other people I saw were also foreigners.
This was the biggest change of all. It has become the most popular thermal resort in the Alps. The municipal baths were full. There are hotels on every street, at every price point, and there are restaurants and luxury-goods shops.
"Stranger in the Village"
If you wish to buy an eye-wateringly costly watch at forty-six hundred feet above sea level, it is now possible to do so. The better hotels have their own thermal pools. At the Hotel Mercure Bristol, I took an elevator down to the spa and sat in the dry sauna. A few minutes later, I slipped into the pool and floated outside in the warm water. Others were there, but not many. A light rain fell. We were ringed by mountains and held in the immortal blue.
Of the villagers, he writes:. These people cannot be, from the point of view of power, strangers anywhere in the world; they have made the modern world, in effect, even if they do not know it. Out of their hymns and dances come Beethoven and Bach. Go back a few centuries and they are in their full glory—but I am in Africa, watching the conquerors arrive.
What is this list about? Does it truly bother Baldwin that the people of Leukerbad are related, through some faint familiarity, to Chartres? That some distant genetic thread links them to the Beethoven string quartets? He does not, and cannot—I want to believe—rate the blues below Bach. But there was a certain narrowness in received ideas of black culture in the nineteen-fifties. The source of jazz and the blues also gave the world hip-hop, Afrobeat, dancehall, and house. And, yes, when James Baldwin died in , he, too, was recognized as an all-star. Ife sculptures are equal to the works of Ghiberti or Donatello.
From their precision and formal sumptuousness we can extrapolate the contours of a great monarchy, a network of sophisticated ateliers, and a cosmopolitan world of trade and knowledge. And it was not only Ife. All of West Africa was a cultural ferment. We know it with a stack of corroborating scholarship and we know it implicitly, so that even making a list of the accomplishments feels faintly tedious, and is helpful mainly as a counter to Eurocentrism. This carefree confidence is, in part, the gift of time. It is a dividend of the struggle of people from earlier generations.
"Stranger in the Village" by James Baldwin
I feel no alienation in museums. But this question of filiation tormented Baldwin considerably. He was sensitive to what was great in world art, and sensitive to his own sense of exclusion from it. These were not really my creations, they did not contain my history; I might search them in vain forever for any reflection of myself. I was an interloper; this was not my heritage. What he loves does not love him in return. This is where I part ways with Baldwin.
I disagree not with his particular sorrow but with the self-abnegation that pinned him to it. Bach, so profoundly human, is my heritage. I am not an interloper when I look at a Rembrandt portrait. I care for them more than some white people do, just as some white people care more for aspects of African art than I do. I can oppose white supremacy and still rejoice in Gothic architecture. Nor can I see how they could be anything else, since we are people who are involved in the texture of the American experience. In his writing there is a hunger for life, for all of it, and a strong wish to not be accounted nothing a mere nigger, a mere neger when he knows himself to be so much.
It is about the incontestable fundamentals of a person: pleasure, sorrow, love, humor, and grief, and the complexity of the interior landscape that sustains those feelings. Baldwin was astonished that anyone anywhere should question these fundamentals, thereby burdening him with the supreme waste of time that is racism, let alone so many people in so many places. This unflagging ability to be shocked rises like steam off his written pages.
Leukerbad gave Baldwin a way to think about white supremacy from its first principles. It was as though he found it in its simplest form there. It is a beautiful village.
Center for Civic Reflection - Community, Leadership, Dialog
I liked the mountain air. But when I returned to my room from the thermal baths, or from strolling in the streets with my camera, I read the news online. There I found an unending sequence of crises: in the Middle East, in Africa, in Russia, and everywhere else, really. Pain was general. The American police continued shooting unarmed black men, or killing them in other ways. The protests that followed, in black communities, were countered with violence by a police force that is becoming indistinguishable from an invading army.
People began to see a connection between the various events: the shootings, the fatal choke hold, the stories of who was not given life-saving medication. And black communities were flooded with outrage and grief.