Black History Month runs from Feb. 1-March 1, 2021. CanPL.ca will feature articles throughout the month profiling the Canadian Premier League’s many outstanding players of colour, as well as stories about their views on the importance of Black History Month.
In his words, York United FC midfielder and former creative writing student Jordan Wilson wasn’t hard-pressed to find Black authors to look up to, but it helped that James Baldwin is much more than what he produce with a pen and paper.
Wilson, 29, has highlighted the civil rights activist and author as a personal hero for Black History Month.
Wilson found himself delving into Baldwin’s work during a university course.
“I’m a big procrastinator,” Wilson told CanPL.ca. “So when I was doing an assignment on his work I ended up looking up everything else and hearing his speeches on the civil rights movement or on injustice in America.
“I wasn’t hard-pressed to find Black writers of course but he was someone that was so unapologetic and wrote so clearly and passionately – one of those voices you were just forced to listen to.”
Baldwin was New York City-born writer whose most prolific work came in the 1950s, with essays and novels that detailed racial discrimination and featured gay and bisexual characters – something ahead of its time and worth highlighting for Wilson along with his famous speeches about segregation.
One of Baldwin’s most prominent quotes has also stood out to the recently-signed York midfielder: “Not everything that is faced can be changed. But nothing can be changed until it is faced.”
Specifically for Wilson, the statement “speaks for itself” when it comes to the ongoing fight to end racial injustice.
“If you shy away from it, and you’re timid to talk about issues, then no real change will happen,” Wilson stated. “Personally I have an issue with stepping on people’s toes; I want to say my truth, but I don’t want to make anyone feel uncomfortable.
“That’s why he resonated with me. Be brought a nice balance of saying the truth but was sly while doing it. He was teaching you while saying some hard truths.”