Baldwin speaks. The fire next time.

My great fear is that post-integration, we might be becoming our "lost, younger brothers" instead of schooling them. That we have also begun to flee from reality and committment to change. That we may not be the one's to bring the fire next time. That instead we may be consumed by it as well.

("The Fire Next Time", Baldwin) ...This is the crime of which I accuse my country and my countrymen, and for which neither I nor time nor history will ever forgive them, that they have destroyed and are destroying hundreds of thousands of lives and do not know it...

But it is not permissible that the authors of devastation should also be innocent. It is the innocence which constitutes the crime...

There is no reason for you to try to become like white people and there is no basis whatever for their impertinent assumption that they must accept you. The really terrible thing, old buddy, is that you must accept them. And I mean that very seriously. You must accept them and accept them with love. For these innocent people have no other hope...

Many of them, indeed, know better, but as you will discover, people find it very difficult to act on what they know. To act is to be committed, and to be committed is to be in danger...

Try to imagine how you would feel if you woke up one morning to find the sun shining and all the stars aflame. You would be frightened because it is out of the order of nature. Any upheaval in the universe is terrifying because it so profoundly attacks one's sense of one's own reality...

But these men are you brothers -- you lost, younger brothers. And if the word integration means anything, this is what it means: that we, with love, shall force our brothers to see themselves as they are, to cease fleeing from reality and begin to change it...

We cannot be free until they are free...

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