This recording comes from the PEN America Digital Archive. Consisting of over 1,500 hours of audio and video material, the archive showcases the intersection of literature and free expression through the voices of some of the most prominent writers, intellectuals, and activists from the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities and in collaboration with Princeton University, the archive not only illustrates the institutional trajectory of PEN America, but also highlights the voices and words of poets, essayists, novelists, and others who resist the infringement of free expression. The entirety of the PEN America Digital Archive is free and accessible to the public.

To celebrate the birthday of James Baldwin, today we share a recording of poet, playwright, and novelist Carl Hancock Rux reading Baldwin’s work at PEN America’s Twentieth-Century Masters Tribute event in 2001.