Here’s Why the FBI Spied on James Baldwin | News | teleSUR English – It also collected documents on other writers, like a 110-page file on Truman Capote and 276 pages on Richard Wright. The size of the file apparently depended on activism and links to other radicals. Baldwin’s file is half the size of Malcolm X, for instance.
Baldwin first piqued the FBI’s interest in 1960 for being “connected with several Communist Party front groups,” among other reasons. But he was also targeted for his links to the Black liberation movement and his sexual orientation. Baldwin’s 1963 polemic essay, “The Fire Next Time,” became a manifesto of the Civil Rights Movement.
Baldwin’s bureau file was collected between 1958 and 1974 and is deemed as one of the most exhaustive and detailed accounts of the Black writer-activist. The FBI ghostreaders documented minute details such as his international travels, his sexual and political affinities, and his literary output, also noting the purchase of many of his titles for the FBI library.