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Our Story

In the heart of literary tradition and the spirit of James Baldwin's enduring legacy, our organization emerged from a vision deeply rooted in history and passion. Our initial goal was audacious yet profound: to overturn the sale of Baldwin's house located in Saint Paul de Vence in the south of France, with the dream of transforming it into a writer's residency.

This house, where Baldwin spent the last 17 years of his life, was more than a home; it was a sanctuary of creativity, a haven from the racial injustices of his homeland, and a bustling meeting place for intellectuals, artists, and activists.

Though we faced challenges in preserving Baldwin's physical home, our mission evolved but never wavered.

Inspired by Baldwin's legacy of equality, understanding, and the transformative power of the word, we stand as a beacon for writers, thinkers, and activists.

Our dedication lies in creating spaces where creativity can flourish, where the legacy of Baldwin enlightens and provokes, and where voices once silenced can echo through the ages.

From the vibrant communities of Paris to the wider world, we are committed to fostering environments that nurture the creative spirit.

Our residencies, workshops, and public programs are not just to honor Baldwin's memory but to perpetuate his belief in the writer's responsibility to society—to witness, to challenge, and to uplift.

As Baldwin once said, "The purpose of art is to lay bare the questions that have been hidden by the answers." Guided by this wisdom, we invite writers and artists globally to join us in our pursuit of truth and justice through the power of the written word.

Our story is a testament to community, inspiration, and the relentless pursuit of freedom—freedom to write, to think, and to dream. We are more than an organization; we are a movement, united by the power of our stories and the enduring legacy of James Baldwin.

Join us as we continue to write our story, fueled by the past, propelled by the present, and aspiring towards a future where every voice is heard, and every story is valued.

Barbara
Barbara
Bernier

An experienced law professor and leader in legal education for more than twenty years, Professor Bernier has significant administrative experience in establishing several nascent law schools and accreditation.

Nakia
Nakia
Booth

Nakia Booth is a co-founder and executive producer of Media Scheme, a digital media company that offers audio, video, photography, and strategy services.

President
Craig
Craig
Dixon

Craig Dixon is an accomplished Business Development Executive with 15+ years of experience in various industries, including healthcare, commerce, cloud computing, and digital media.

Eric
Eric
Freeze

Eric Freeze grew up in southern Alberta, Canada in the shadow of the Canadian Rockies. He studied creative writing and African-American literature in the US, getting a PhD at Ohio University and eventually teaching at Wabash College in Indiana where he is a tenured professor.

Treasurer
Tayler
Tayler
Friar

Tayler Ava Friar is a writer, TEDx speaker, art historian, and global communications specialist with previous roles at The United Nations, World Bank, and Google.

Jallicia
Jallicia
Jolly

Kingston-born and Brooklyn-bred, Dr. Jallicia Jolly is a spoken word poet, writer, and reproductive justice organizer who is currently an Assistant Professor in American Studies and Black Studies at Amherst College.

VP
Kaila
Kaila
McNair

Kaila McNair is a Manager, Talent Acquisition for the Achievement Network (ANet) where she serves as a talent expert and trusted strategist on talent best practices grounded in equity and anti-racism.

Secretary
Beau Bree
Beau Bree
Rhee

Beau Bree Rhee is a visual artist and choreographer. Her work centers around body-space-ecologies and our radical dependencies with the environment and cosmos.

Cedric
Cedric
Shine

Cedric Shine is a seasoned marketing strategist, writer, and Black Culture enthusiast. Cedric currently serves as the Director of Marketing Platforms & Development for Major League Soccer, focused on growing the youth audience by leveraging new platforms and connecting to cultural touchpoints in an authentic way.

Karey
Karey
Wallace

Karey Wallace, with over 20 years in HR, heads human resources at Lantern Community Service, optimizing operations and employee relations. She is SHRM-SCP certified, holds a HR management degree from Pace University, and lives in Brooklyn with her family.

At the heart of our mission, guiding every step we take towards nurturing creativity and championing literary excellence, stands our esteemed Board of Directors.

Comprised of distinguished individuals from diverse backgrounds in literature, academia, activism, and the arts, our board members bring a wealth of experience, insight, and passion to our organization. United by a shared dedication to preserving and promoting the legacy of James Baldwin, they steer our initiatives with vision and wisdom.

Each director, with their unique expertise and profound commitment to social justice, plays a crucial role in shaping our programs, expanding our reach, and ensuring that our sanctuary for writers continues to flourish.

 

We invite you to get to know the visionary leaders who are helping to write the next chapter in the story of La Maison Baldwin.

Meet Our Board

Letter from our Executive Director

It is an honor to serve as the executive director at La Maison Baldwin and I am thrilled by the progress we have made so far this year. I am blessed to have a diverse, committed, and talent board of directors partnering with me in this work and I am proud to say that we are now in full partnership and collaboration with the Baldwin family and estate. 

As a Black writer living in Paris, I know I stand on the trail blazed by Baldwin himself and I am excited to bring my experience, professional network, and skills to the task. I hope that you all will join me on this journey in spirit and support. That said, the board and I are thrilled with the accomplishment of some of our short term goals and are focused on the successful implementation of our remaining priorities.  

  • We celebrated a successful 2023 Writer's Conference in Paris :  In July, we welcomed 24 writers and faculty to Paris for a 5-day conference at which we celebrated Baldwin's legacy. We were graced by the talents and courage of our participants as they shared their own work. I penned a deeper reflection in my essay, Jimmy Opened the Gate, inspired by all that we experienced together that week. 

  • We are focused on securing La Maison Baldwin's financial stability : Setbacks from the pandemic and other organizational shifts have left La Maison Baldwin in a turnaround situation financially. With a newly energized board and a new narrative, I am confident that we can engage the fundraising strategies necessary to set LMB up for long-term sustainability.

  • We are poised to celebrate James Baldwin's Centennial in 2024 : From September 9-13, La Maison Baldwin will be hosting a centennial festival in honor of James Baldwin in Paris, France. We have assembled a centennial committee and are laying the groundwork and vision for this special occasion. To learn more, click here.

Taking the reins of La Maison Baldwin was deeply personal for me as my late father, like Baldwin, was also a Jimmy from Harlem. I wrote a piece, Two Jimmys from Harlem, about how I've been inspired by these two sons of Harlem.  I hope you'll take a read to learn more about the foundation on which I stand as I continue to lead our work into this next era. 


Thank you again for your continued support and I look forward to sharing more with you as LMB's journey continues.

 

Tara Phillips
Executive Director
tara.phillips@lamaisonbaldwin.fr 

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