I suggest you read both.
I thought it intriguing that the authors, both black men were giving their analysis of race relations in America 52 years apart (one at the birth of the Civil Rights Movement and the other struggling in its aftermath) describing the same issues. It can't get more relevant than this! No, not as we sit in front row seats viewing the George Floyd murder trial; video after video of the assaults and deaths of black men by police or the relentless attempts by senators and representatives to roll back the basic rights and privileges of people of color in America.
By all means, read Baldwin and Coates, but also read two other great authors, the Apostle Peter of the New Testament and Moses of the Old Testament for greater understanding of what is really happening:
Above all, you must understand that in the last days, scoffers will come,
scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say,
"where is this 'coming' he promised? Ever since our ancestors
died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.
But they deliberately forget that long ago by God's word the
heavens came into being and the earth was formed out of water
and by water. By this waters also the world of that time was
deluged and destroyed. By the same word the the present heavens
and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of
judgment and destruction of the ungodly.
(2 Peter 3-7 NIV)
Peter is simply saying that God destroyed the world once because of its corruption, violence and unbridled wickedness (Genesis 6:11-13) but showed mercy and allowed its renewal in grace. He chose one man, Noah and his three sons: Ham, Shem, and Japheth. The offsprings of these sons, scholars believe are the progenitors of all the ethnic groups of the world today. (These same ethnic groups that are killing each other!)
With renewed hope, mankind was allowed to live out God's original promise, sealed eternally with a rainbow as a sign, and a covenant from God, Himself. This hope of peace, civility, wisdom, and acceptance among humankind is quickly fading away.
Maybe the following will refresh memories as we rush foolishly into what can only be described as self-annihilation!
Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him: ...
Never again will all life be destroyed by the waters
of a flood; never again will there be a flood to destroy
the earth. And this is the sign of the covenant I am making
between me and you and every living creature with you,
a covenant for all generations to come: I have set my rainbow
in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant
between me and the earth.
Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow
appears in the clouds, I will remember my covenant
between me and you and all living creatures of every kind.
Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life.
The implication here is that, when God's patience has worn thin, as it did in the days of Noah and He decides to exercise His vengeance on the earth; that it will not be by water....but fire! This is corroborated in Malachi 4:1; 2 Peter 3;7; and Revelation 21:1. Bible skeptics in the past have found it difficult to see current events in light of bible prophecy. I wonder if they find it so when once again, children are murdered in their beds. A trip to the supermarket for ice cream results in a return ride in a hearse. Who would believe that NOT having a rear license plate on your car or HAVING an air freshener on your rearview mirror would be cause for being pepper sprayed and humiliated or shot in the front seat of your car.
Is this how we repay God's mercy and grace?
Will our past sins continue to ruin our future?
Is this how we keep hope alive for our children?
A PROPHETIC UTTERANCE BY JAMES BALDWIN
[Emphasis is mine!]
“It demands great spiritual resilience not to hate the hater whose
foot is on your neck, and an even greater miracle of
perception and charity not to teach your child to hate."