The Chicago Public Library picked Go Tell It on the Mountain, the first novel by James Baldwin, as the Spring 2007 selection for One Book, One Chicago. I have tried to read each season’s selection since the program was inaugurated in 2001. Some selections have been familiar, many unfamiliar. Go Tell It on the Mountain belongs to the latter category.

The back jacket cover of the book reads:

James Baldwin’s stunning first novel is now an American classic. With startling realism that brings Harlem and the black experience vividly to life, this is a work that touches the heart with emotion while it stimulates the mind with its narrative style, symbolism, and excoriating vision of racism in America.

Moving through time from the rural South to the northern ghetto, starkly contrasting the attitudes of two generations of an embattled family, Go Tell It on the Mountain is an unsurpassed portrayal of human beings caught up in a dramatic struggle and a society confronting inevitable change.

It struck me as an appropriate book to begin today. Today marks the 60th anniversary of the day Jackie Robinson put on a Brooklyn Dodgers uniform in a regular-season game for the first time, thus re-integrating Major League baseball forever.

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