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KSC Celebrates Black History Month with James Baldwin Play

Calvin Levels in "James Baldwin:  Down from the Mountaintop"
Calvin Levels in "James Baldwin: Down from the Mountaintop"

KEENE, N.H., 1/08/07 - Tony Award-nominee Calvin Levels will perform his critically acclaimed play, James Baldwin: Down from the Mountaintop, on Wednesday, January 24, at 7:30 p.m. in the Alumni Recital Hall of the Redfern Arts Center. The performance is free and open to the public, but tickets are required. Call 603-358-2168 to reserve tickets.

This original solo play depicts the rich and impassioned life of novelist, playwright, and civil rights activist James Baldwin (1924-87), powerfully communicating his messages of love, equality, and social justice. At a multicultural luncheon at noon on the same day, KSC professors Nigel Malcolm, Anne-Marie Mallon, and Dottie Morris will discuss why his work is as important today as it was when he wrote it.

James Baldwin was an African American writer noted for his critical essays on racism and the civil rights struggle in the United States as well as for novels that explore identity from the multiple perspectives of race, sexual orientation, and class. He fused autobiographical material with analysis of social injustice and prejudices to create some of the most important fiction of the 1950s through the 1970s.

In James Baldwin: Down from the Mountaintop, Baldwin comes back to earth to set the record straight. He recounts various events in his life, which include his early childhood in Harlem as a prodigious reader and fiery young minister; his first sexual experiences and love affairs; his relationship with his idol Richard Wright; his move to Paris in 1948; the publishing of Go Tell It on the Mountain and Giovanni’s Room; his relationships with Marlon Brando, Lorraine Hansberry, Truman Capote, Norman Mailer, and Langston Hughes; and his association with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, and the civil rights movement.

Calvin Levels is a member of The Actors Studio and has worked with theaters across the country. Some of his film credits include Ragtime, directed by Milos Forman; the CBS five-hour mini series The Atlanta Child Murders, which also starred Morgan Freeman, Jason Robards, and Martin Sheen; Convicts, starring Robert Duval and James Earl Jones; Johnny Suede, costarring Brad Pitt; and Adventures in Babysitting, starring Elizabeth Shue. He received the New York Theater World Award for Outstanding New Talent and has been nominated for the Tony Award, the New York Drama Desk Award, and the Outer Critic Circle Award for Best Actor in a Play.

The presentation of James Baldwin: Down from the Mountaintop launches Keene State College’s celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day and Black History Month and is sponsored by the Diversity Commission, the President’s Office, Residential Life, the Student Center, the Athletics Office, Common Ground, and Pepsi.

For more information, call Candice Wiggum at 603-358-2438 or visit

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