James Baldwin and Bob Dylan 55 Years Ago Today

by Chris Murray on December 13, 2018

James Baldwin and Bob Dylan, December 13, 1963, New York City. Photo by Ted Russell.

It was 55 years ago today that Bob Dylan received the Tom Paine Award for Civil Liberties from the National Emergency Civil Liberties Committee. LIFE magazine photographer Ted Russell took this historic photograph of the young Bob Dylan with James Baldwin as he was about to receive the award. Baldwin and Dylan were clearly enjoying each others company. It was a tense time as President Kennedy had recently been assassinated, and the Cuban Missile Crisis was still on people’s minds. 

Ted Russell’s extraordinary photos of Dylan from 1961-1964 will be on exhibit in Washington for the first time, this April at Addison-Ripley Gallery in Georgetown. Ted Russell will be attending the exhibition opening and will be signing copies of his book Bob Dylan NYC 1961-1964 (Rizzoli).

Meshell Ndegeocello is premiering her homage to James Baldwin, Can I Get A Witness: The Gospel of James Baldwin at the Kennedy Center‘s Eisenhower Theater this Sunday, December 16th. This program is part of the Kennedy Center’s Hip Hop Culture initiative.

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