The Fire Next Time

The Fire Next Time Characters

James Baldwin

The Fire Next Time is written from the perspective of the author himself, James Baldwin, an African-American who was born into poverty in Harlem in 1924. Known as a writer of both literary and intellectual… (read full character analysis)

James

James Baldwin’s fourteen-year-old nephew. James bears a striking resemblance to his father, the author’s brother, and even exhibits, according to Baldwin, a similar personality: a tendency to act aggressively in order to not appear… (read full character analysis)

Baldwin’s Father

James Baldwin’s stepfather, to whom he never refers by name, and with whom he had a contentious and even bitter relationship. As a teenager, Baldwin views his father as a relentless authority figure dominating… (read full character analysis)

Elijah Muhammad

The leader of the Nation of Islam, a religious black separatist group. Although Baldwin disagrees with Elijah’s belief that all whites are “devils” and that the future of the world includes only black people, he… (read full character analysis)
Minor Characters
Baldwin’s Brother
James’s father and Baldwin’s younger brother. Baldwin only mentions his brother in order to tell James that he takes after him.
Nation of Islam Driver
A member of the Nation of Islam who drives Baldwin after the author has dinner at Elijah Muhammad’s mansion.
Malcolm X
An influential African-American activist and the second in command of the Nation of Islam.