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Event Details


The Fire is Upon Us: The Debate Over Race in America Professor Nicholas Buccola



Tuesday 28 January 2020, 4pm


Elizabeth Fry, 1.01, UEA

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All lectures, Literature, Workshops and public seminars

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Tuesday 28 January, 4pm

The Fire is Upon Us: The Debate Over Race in America

Professor Nicholas Buccola - Elizabeth and Morris Glicksman Chair in Political Science at Linfield College, McMinnville, OR

Elizabeth Fry, 1.01, UEA


On February 18, 1965, an overflowing crowd packed the Cambridge Union.  Presided over by chairman Norman St. John Stevas MP, the world's oldest and most prestigious student debating society was to witness a historic televised debate between James Baldwin, the leading literary voice of the civil rights movement, and William F. Buckley Jr., a fierce critic of the movement and America's most influential conservative intellectual. The question was ‘Has the American dream been achieved at the expense of the American Negro?’ and no one who has seen the debate can soon forget it.

Nicholas Buccola's The Fire Is upon Us is the first book to tell the full story of the event, the radically different paths that led Baldwin and Buckley to it, the controversies that followed, and how the debate and the decades-long clash between the men continues to illuminate America's racial divide today. 

Professor Buccola will be discussing his new book, The Fire is Upon Us: James Baldwin, William F. Buckley Jr. and the Debate Over Race in America (Princeton University Press, 2020) and answering any questions you may have.