Sunday, February 14, 2021

the last book I ever read (Begin Again: James Baldwin's America and Its Urgent Lessons for Our Own, excerpt fourteen)

from Begin Again: James Baldwin's America and Its Urgent Lessons for Our Own by Eddie S. Glaude Jr.:

A group of young men stood along a certain section of the cemetery facing one of the mausoleums. The men were black, white, and Latino. I didn’t know if they worked there or were just hanging out. I asked Carole to stop, and I rolled down the window. The strong smell of marijuana wafted through the window. I asked if they knew where Jimmy’s grave was. A young black man turned to me, his eyes glazed over. He said he didn’t know where Baldwin’s grave was. “But maybe he’s buried near Malcolm X,” he offered. “I know where Michael is. He’s over in that section,” he said, pointing over the top of the car. Carole immediately shook her head and said that Jimmy was not buried near Malcolm.

We found the main office. The woman, apparently accustomed to guiding lost tourists, pulled ou a map and with a yellow highlighter traced the path to Jimmy. We drove back to the Hillcrest section. I took out the map, and it led us right back to where we were. Carole began to walk in a different direction, back toward the tree she remembered from the funeral. The young men were still there. The smell of weed was still strong. I walked right behind them, and there was Jimmy. I shouted to Carole. The young men turned around, and one of them said, with amazement, “He is right there?” I smiled and said, “Yes, he’s right here.” He was right here all along. Hidden in plain sight.

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