“It made me furious, it filled me with both hatred and pity, and it made me ashamed. Some one of us should have been there with her! I dawdled in Europe for nearly yet another year, held by my private life and my attempt to finish a novel, but it was on that bright afternoon that I knew I was leaving…
“I could, simply, no longer sit around in Paris discussing the Algerian and the black American problem. Everybody else was paying their dues, and it was time I went home and paid mine.”
—Writer James Baldwin, recalling his reaction to seeing in the news kiosks along Boulevard Saint-Germain the image of Dorothy Counts being spat on as she entered Harding High School in Charlotte in 1957. (Observer photographer Don Sturkey’s negatives from that day belong to the North Carolina Collection.)
As someone who began work for newspapers in the lead-type era, I have to wonder: Would Baldwin have been so viscerally moved by seeing Counts’ image online?