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These carrots aren't cooked: reports of our failure are greatly exaggerated

November 28, 2017

(version francaise ci-dessous)



Yesterday's New York Times reports, falsely, that our efforts have failed


We are close to knowing, either way, whether we still have a chance to see a residency for writers and artists on the site of James Baldwin's former house, as he wanted, instead of an apartment complex. Very soon we will have the answer, no doubt about it. But it's still far too early to give up and go home.


How the world responds in the coming weeks will have everything to with whether the answer is yes or no.


We need the owner of the property to accept our request for a meeting. More than a month ago, when it became clear he was indeed prepared to begin construction, we sent him a proposal describing a public-private partnership, asking for a meeting to explain in detail how we plan to purchase this property from him with American philanthropic dollars. Two weeks ago, our lawyers followed up with their lawyers. Last week, we followed up again, asking again if he would meet with our team, including our architectural counsel, to describe our vision for the site and how we plan to raise the money.


As of today, we have had no response to any of our communications. And we can  wait no longer for a meeting. Construction is advancing quickly and is about to pass the point of no return, in which major construction investments are made and it will be too late to stop the project.


We need you to call or email the owner of the property, Mr. Henri Chambon, at the company SOCRI, and explain to his secretary, VERY POLITELY, why James Baldwin is important to you, and that you hope the company will consider another possible outcome for the site. It's okay to speak English, but enunciate well and speak slowly. Ask them with great professionalism and courtesy--courtesy is EVERYTHING in France!--to kindly meet with the team from Les Amis de la Maison Baldwin.


Contact Madame Leclerc (pronounced LUH-cler)  at +33 4 93 58 65 00. Her email address is