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Common Text

College of students speaking with faculty

James Baldwin The Fire Next Time Book Cover During their time on campus, the Class of 2022 will join the Loyola community in exploring what it means to be an Ignatian Citizen. The Loyola University Strategic Plan, 2017-2022 describes Ignatian citizens as people who "think of themselves as part of something larger, as responsible for the betterment of our shared world; as men and women who think and act for the rights of others, especially the disadvantaged and the oppressed.” As citizens living and learning in Baltimore in 2018, we must understand our collective history and the underlying systems that fuel injustice. To that end, we have selected James Baldwin’s The Fire Next Time as the 2018 Loyola Common Text.  

From Random House Penguin:
A national bestseller when it first appeared in 1963, The Fire Next Time galvanized the nation and gave passionate voice to the emerging civil rights movement. At once a powerful evocation of James Baldwin’s early life in Harlem and a disturbing examination of the consequences of racial injustice, the book is an intensely personal and provocative document. It consists of two “letters,” written on the occasion of the centennial of the Emancipation Proclamation, that exhort Americans, both black and white, to attack the terrible legacy of racism. Described by The New York Times Book Review as “sermon, ultimatum, confession, deposition, testament, and chronicle…all presented in searing, brilliant prose,” The Fire Next Time stands as a classic of our literature.

Loyola faculty members, administrators, and students chose this book largely because of the powerful questions it raises about the fundamental assumptions and underlying logic of American society.   Additionally, many contemporary authors and leaders reference, respond to and build upon Baldwin’s works.   Our engagement with Baldwin’s work will provide a solid foundation for future inquiries and discussions about civil rights, poverty, equity, religion, and social activism. 

The Fire Next Time promises an introduction to the depth of thought, imagination, and challenge you can expect from your time at Loyola. We look forward to reading along with you and entering into a conversation that enlightens and enriches your experience.

Members of the Class of 2022 will receive a copy of The Fire Next Time during summer orientation and it will be integrated into class discussions and programming throughout their first year on the Evergreen campus. 

 


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