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  1. Go Tell It On the Mountain
  2. by James Baldwin
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  5. 'Know whence you came'

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Go Tell It On the Mountain

Edit Cast Episode cast overview, first billed only: Paul Winfield John Olivia Cole Elizabeth Rodrick F. Roy as Roderick Wimberly Rosalind Cash Aunt Florence Rose Weaver Mother Washington Desiree Coleman Ella Mae Giancarlo Esposito Elisha Linda Hopkins James Ruby Dee Grimes Ving Rhames Young Gabriel Joy A. Deborah Alfre Woodard Language: English.

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Runtime: 96 min. Sound Mix: Mono. Color: Color. Edit Did You Know? Trivia Ving Rhames TV debut. Add the first question.

by James Baldwin

Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Report this. Edit page. Clear your history. IMDb Everywhere. Memory is tricky that way; I may have whole books wrong.. Like watching insipid superhero movies as an adult. Maybe the thrill of the re-read just will measure up to the thrill of the original read. Yep, smells old, that particular musty scent old paperbacks acquire upon long acquaintance with an unloved shelf.

I had James Baldwin on a list of must-reads, and it appears I was in a used bookstore somewhere Ft. I had never read anything quite like it, and I remember swearing on the spot that I would re-read it regularly. What I mainly recall is the soaring force of the redemption and conversion of the main character whose name I cannot recall, nor can I recall precisely what sins he longed to be forgiven for.

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  • This experience of feeling the true presence of God went on for pages and pages, I think, the language rising to greater and more impossible heights with each paragraph. I vividly recall one other part that stemmed from its bygone era. Another of the main characters, a maid for rich folks in another part of New York City, leaves her baby child unattended in a crib all day.

    This did not serve as an important part of the narrative; I thought there might have been some suspense attached, but nope.

    But what if you had no choice? What if leaving him there was the only way to keep the baby fed? Not many any? Again and again Baldwin hammers home the sincere belief of the characters that they are not of this world, that one day, one day soon, they will be called forth as God had once called the Hebrews out of Egypt. That the world is unjust they take for granted: black women will hauled off to be gang-raped in the fields by white men; black men will be hauled to jail and beaten by New York cops.

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    In some respects Go Tell It on the Mountain an unmovable, unanswering mountain, howsoever long and hard one cries out to it is a long cry against the injustice; in others a long sigh of patient endurance against that injustice, a long hymn of the long wait for the next, better world. As the characters themselves seesaw between longing for the promises of Heaven and anguish at the sordid realities of Earth, so does the narrative whip between hope and soul-stomping despair. Whatever Go Tell It on the Mountain takes as its concerns, these concerns are not petty.

    Its epiphanies are not the dull, workshopped sort beloved of MFAers.

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    And yet the cumulative effect is somehow uplifting, a conversion experience in itself. Nor does the book contain a clarion call to right the horrific injustice of this world. The characters do not walk out of all-night church session looking to change the world. So, that religious experience I recalled before re-reading?


    Turns out my memory had amalgamated the mystical interludes of several characters: Gabriel, the father; John the bastard son; Elizabeth the mother, Florence the sister and aunt. All four encounter God in one form or another, throw themselves to dusty floors to fall upon the Mercy of the Blood of Christ. But conversion is a tenuous, uncertain thing, as Baldwin repeatedly makes clear.

    Dolly Parton - Go Tell It On The Mountain (Xmas Special)

    In point of fact, John, if he were 14 in , would be 78 today. Wise but not wizened, bowed but not embittered. It turns out, also, that I misremembered the part about the baby in the crib all day the baby who turns out to be John in the book.

    'Know whence you came'

    His mother, Elizabeth works the night shift cleaning an office building on Wall Street, leaving John sleeping in the crib, and the landlady, who drinks too much, checks in on him from time to time. I like to dog-ear books; I find writing in the margins too cramped and underlining with pen too messy. As an admiring reader, I can really pay it no higher compliment.