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Iconic Black Author James Baldwin’s NYC Home May Soon Become A National Landmark

By DeAnna Taylor

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Novelist, author, playwright, activist. These were just a few of the many hats that New York City native, James Baldwin, wore. He was very vocal during the Civil Rights Movement and was one of the leading voices for gay rights as the topic began to emerge.

He brought us some of our favorite novels, If Beale Street Could Talk and Just Above My Head, both of which explored the intricacies of the Black family back in the early 70s.

Baldwin spent most of his life living in New York and spent his last years in his home on New York’s Upper West Side. The home, located on West 71st Street between Columbus Avenue and Broadway, was occupied by Baldwin from 1966 until his death in 1987.

The NYC home, where he also penned If Beale Street Could Talk, was among six sites nominated to be added to the State and National Registers of Historic Places by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. The home was officially deemed a city landmark this week as well.

“These historic locations highlight so much of what it is exceptional and exciting about New York’s history and honor the legacy of some of the state’s most distinguished leaders,” Gov. Cuomo said in a statement. “By placing these landmarks on the State and National Registers of Historic Places, we are helping to ensure these places and their caretakers have the funding needed to preserve, improve and promote the best of the Empire State.”

Related: D.C.’s Howard Theater’ Walk Of Fame’ Pays Homage To Black Icons

What this means is that no alterations or changes can be made to the home without approval from the city.

Other sites added to this list include:

  • Harlem’s Dorrance Brooks Square Historic District, located at Edgecombe Avenue West between 136th and 140th Streets.
  • The 32nd Precinct Station House complex, located at 1850-1854 Amsterdam Avenue and also known as the 40th and 30th Precincts.
  • Sunset Park’s Fourth Avenue Methodist Episcopal Church, located at 4616 Fourth Avenue.
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DeAnna Taylor

DeAnna Taylor is a criminal defense Attorney turned travel blogger, author, and writer. While Charlotte, NC (her hometown) is her base, she's always somewhere on a plane. Catch her on IG: @brokeandabroadlife.

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