New York City laid a claim to one of its most distinguished native sons last Wednesday, October 7, when a plaque honoring James Baldwin was officially unveiled at 81 Horatio Street in Greenwich Village.
Baldwin lived at 81 Horatio Street from 1958 to 1961 and wrote part of his 1962 novel Another Country there. The plaque commemorates his time at the address and acknowledges in a more tacit way the influence Greenwich Village had on Baldwin’s art and activism ever since he first found a refuge there, while still in his teens, in the early 1940s. (Rufus Scott, the doomed protagonist of Another Country, thinks of the Village as “the place of liberation”—years before real-life events in the neighborhood would give that term added resonance.)
The plaque is a project of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, with the support of the Two Boots Foundation; its unveiling made an apt coda to the recent citywide “Year of James Baldwin” marking what would have been the author’s 90th year.
At the ceremony Library of America publisher Max Rudin was part of a roster of speakers that included James Baldwin’s nephew Trevor Baldwin, writer Fran Lebowitz, and Gregory Pardlo, winner of the 2015 Pulitzer Prize in Poetry.
Enjoy photos from the scene via the gallery below, and click here for the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation’s video of the complete ceremony.
All photos © Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation.