James Baldwin, Blues for Mr Charlie

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Several years before Baldwin completed his second play,

Blues for Mister Charlie

(1964), the Greek American theatre director Elia Kazan, his close friend, had suggested that he write about the murder of Emmett Till. Till was a young black man from Chicago brutally killed for allegedly whistling at a white woman in Money, Mississippi, in 1955. The infamous acquittal by an all-white, all-male jury of the white men guilty of the crime caused a national uproar. The gloating killers subsequently sold the details of the murder to a journalist.

The plot of Blues for Mister Charlie was also inspired by another murder case in backcountry Mississippi: a case that involved a typical southern triangle of racism, lust, and violence. A white storekeeper killed a black man because he was attracted to the

1908 words

Citation: Zaborowska, Magdalena J.. "Blues for Mr Charlie". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 10 October 2006 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=6258, accessed 17 April 2024.]

6258 Blues for Mr Charlie 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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