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Dr. James Baldwin interview, 2021-06-06

Identifier: dcpl_dcohc035_05.wav

Scope and Contents

From the Collection:

D.C. Oral History Collaborative (DCOHC) is a citywide initiative to train community members in oral history skills, fund new and ongoing oral history projects, connect volunteers with oral history projects, and publicize existing oral history collections. DCOHC is a project of DC Public Library, HumanitiesDC, and the Historical Society of Washington, D.C. This collection contains oral history interviews, transcripts, and indexes produced by DCOHC grantees.


  • Creation: 2021-06-06


Language of Materials


Biographical / Historical

Dr. James Baldwin has been a resident of Penn Branch neighborhood since 1962. He is a former World War II veteran that served in an all-Black (segregated) 784th Tank Battalion that freed Holland from Nazi Germany control in 1945. Many people in the Penn Branch neighborhood believe that Baldwin may have been the first or second African American president of the Penn Branch Community Association. He talks about his term as President of the Penn Branch Community Association and describes the characteristics of the neighborhood.


From the Collection: 1.13 Terabytes


Dr. James Baldwin gives an overview of his life from his childhood in North Carolina to his enlistment in the U.S. Army and now legendary service as a part of the legendary 784th Tank Battalion that supported the liberation of Holland. He also discusses how he and his wife, Ann Baldwin (1921-2006), purchased their home in the Penn Branch neighborhood in southeast Washington, D.C., in the early 1960s and were among the first African American families to integrate the community. He briefly describes his tenure as President of the Penn Branch Civic Association and social challenges and transitions that continued in the neighborhood as African American professionals became the predominant population group by 1970. Dr. Baldwin ends by discussing what he believes to have been key to his longevity and what he likes most about being a long-time resident in Washington, D.C.

Repository Details

Part of the The People's Archive, Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Library Repository

901 G Street NW
4th Floor East
Washington DC 20001