James Baldwin’s “Stranger in the Village” served as my inspiration for an artist residency in Lucerne, Switzerland. In this essay from Baldwin’s collected essays Notes of a Native Son, Baldwin uses his encounters with the villagers as an occasion to ponder the whole history of Western white supremacy and racism. He weaves a narrative of how the stigma of being a Negro in the Unites States has followed him to the remote Swiss village, Loèche-les-Bains. This essay continues to resonate within me from my first reading in 1984 as a teen on the South Side of Chicago, struggling to find and establish my cultural and artistic identity. If Baldwin’s idea that “people are trapped in history and history is trapped in them,” then I must consider the notion that people and their histories can both inform and free each other, in order to move forward to form and construct meaningful narratives and nuanced histories.