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Many New York City public schools are named in honor of prominent figures in American and world history.

James Baldwin School, in Manhattan, inadvertently honors an LGBT individual.

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Credit: New York Daily News.

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History

Many New York City public schools are named in honor of prominent figures in American and world history. The NYC LGBT Historic Sites Project compiled a list of the 25 public schools named after gay men, lesbians, and bisexuals, although only one — Harvey Milk High School — intentionally honors an LGBT individual. This list includes James Baldwin School, in Manhattan.

Author and civil rights activist James Baldwin (1924-1987), born and raised in Harlem, moved to Greenwich Village in 1943. He left for Paris in 1948 to escape the racism he endured in New York City, and would spend much of the rest of his life in France, but also frequently returned to New York. Through his writing, televised appearances, and public speaking here and abroad, Baldwin became a critical voice for the Black civil rights movement and brought attention to racial issues in the United States. In 1965, at the height of his fame, he moved into a rowhouse on the Upper West Side. Baldwin is considered the first major Black writer since the Harlem Renaissance to speak and write about same-sex relationships. This began with his groundbreaking second novel, Giovanni’s Room, published in 1956.

Sites on this website associated with Baldwin include his Horatio Street residence and the San Remo Cafe, in Greenwich Village, his West 71st Street residence, on the Upper West Side, and the 135th Street Branch, The New York Public Library, in Harlem.

This building was constructed as the Textile High School.

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