The Motivation for Baldwin’s Play
In writing the play “Blues for Mister Charlie,” Baldwin was moved by events that led to the death of Emmett Till, an African American boy by whites. The play was written in 1964, a time racial discrimination was a contagious issue of discussion in the public domain. It was the first work of James Baldwin, who was moved by the murder of the fourteen-year-old Till for racial prejudice in Mississippi in the previous year. The murderers of the young boy pleaded guilty to the charges arguing that the boy offended a lady “while in a grocery store” (AL-Mola, 2019). Two white men who confessed to the murder charges were acquitted, which angered the black American society terming the decision as unjust. This leaves one moved by the extent of racism that had taken root even in the courts. Thus, the play was written by James Baldwin to address the issues of concern in the death and the corridors of justice that followed.
His Creative Decision to Root the Play in “Plaguetown”
The play is acted in the USA’s plague town, which can be termed the heart of racism. Apparently, James chose the town to impact the people who are known for racial prejudice. The play would be relevant if acted to convey the condemnation of racism in the town the problem is rooted. The art is designed to address other discrimination features rooted in the plaque town (AL-Mola, 2019). The irony is that the town is also occupied by staunch Christians who should be taught religious tolerance to avoid the destruction of human relationships due to mare prejudice.
The Meaning of “now”
The play is also a reflection of today’s times of racial, tribal, political, and religious conflicts that have threatened the existence of humanity. The term “now” in the play means any time the play is relevant in addressing racial issues. Many years after the murder events in the play, racial discrimination has not been addressed adequately. The interaction between the blacks and the whites is minimized up to date (AL-Mola, 2019). The art work is also a wake-up call for the many anti-racism activists to rise to the occasion and assertively condemn racism. Why can’t racism get addressed in all the spheres of life? Richard had to persevere presenting the play in a theatre dominated by the whites and who stereotyped him for being black.
AL-Mola, S. A. (2019). Existential dilemma of identity exploration in James Baldwin’s selected novels. College Of Basic Education Researches Journal, 15(2). Web.