James Baldwin illustration by John Ira Jennings
by John Ira Jennings
James Baldwin illustration by Ronald Wimberly
by Ronald Wimberly

This website features a series of data visualizations about James Baldwin’s 21st-century digital afterlives that can be explored by students, fans, and scholars: #BlackLivesMatter tweets, popular YouTube videos, library circulation data, and more.

The two facing Baldwins pictured above—designed by John Ira Jennings and Ronald Wimberly, respectively—represent the many powerful, divergent reimaginations of Baldwin captured here. On the left, a loud, red, street-art Baldwin with a bouquet of Black Power-style fists bursting from his mind: “To be black + conscious is to live in a constant state of rage!” On the right, a contemplative, blue, Pop-Arty Baldwin: “To be a Negro in this country and to be relatively conscious is to be in a rage almost all the time.”

What do these differences mean? Where did these quotations come from? Why are they so popular? Why, above all, does James Baldwin matter to so many people today? Explore these questions and more through the Tweets of a Native Son visualizations, publications, and resources.

5-Minute Website Walk-Through