New York During The 1920's

1310 Words Mar 3rd, 2016 6 Pages
Growing up in Harlem, New York during the 1920’s and 30’s, James Baldwin was a young Black man desperate for a place of acceptance. Surrounded by drugs and prostitution Baldwin saw a change in his neighborhood and his friends as they got older. With his friends beginning to drink and smoke Baldwin knew times were changing. He became very aware of the bodily development of the girls and the boys around him, to his surprise, he was even more enticed by the changes in the boys (Baldwin 17). During this time, Baldwin and his friends would begin to experience the racism that White America had to offer. No longer shielded by their age or naivety they had to face the fact that they were not accepted because of their skin color. With this realization, Baldwin would begin his search to be part of something bigger then him. During a similar time period, Abraham Maslow, a Psychologist and Professor at numerous universities over his career, including Brandeis and Columbia, published a theory called “Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs” (Boeree). In this theory, Maslow describes the four most important needs for a human to be self actualized. The self actualized person is not one of perfection but one who is on a search to understand and discover why their life is the way it is, from why “their feet hurt” to if “they do not like eggplant”. They take responsibility for their actions and try to be honest people in their search to figuring out their purpose in life. Surrounded by hate and anger,…
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