(Image: Getty)JAMES BALDWIN: Although it wasn’t until later in his career that Baldwin would openly identify as a gay male, he made it a point to bring sexuality to the forefront of literature in classics such as Go Tell It on the Mountain and Giovanni’s Room. With the release of the latter 1956 novel, the Harlem native broadened the public discourse of same-sex relationships by capturing the sexual identity issues between two men. Baldwin’s interests in race, class and sexuality were not confined to the page. After years of living in Paris and Istanbul, he returned to the United States and aligned himself with the missions of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). He also participated in the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. Up until his death in 1987, Baldwin continued to reflect on social issues in his later publications and role as a professor at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and Hampshire College.