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James Baldwin quotes Showing 1-30 of 1,080

“You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read. It was books that taught me that the things that tormented me most were the very things that connected me with all the people who were alive, who had ever been alive.”
James Baldwin
“Love does not begin and end the way we seem to think it does. Love is a battle, love is a war; love is a growing up.”
James A. Baldwin
“You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read.”
James Baldwin
“Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them.”
James Baldwin
“I imagine one of the reasons people cling to their hates so stubbornly is because they sense, once hate is gone, they will be forced to deal with pain.”
James Baldwin, The Fire Next Time
“Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.”
James Baldwin
“Perhaps home is not a place but simply an irrevocable condition.”
James Baldwin, Giovanni's Room
“Life is tragic simply because the earth turns and the sun inexorably rises and sets, and one day, for each of us, the sun will go down for the last, last time. Perhaps the whole root of our trouble, the human trouble, is that we will sacrifice all the beauty of our lives, will imprison ourselves in totems, taboos, crosses, blood sacrifices, steeples, mosques, races, armies, flags, nations, in order to deny the fact of death, the only fact we have. It seems to me that one ought to rejoice in the fact of death--ought to decide, indeed, to earn one's death by confronting with passion the conundrum of life. One is responsible for life: It is the small beacon in that terrifying darkness from which we come and to which we shall return.”
James Baldwin, The Fire Next Time
“Freedom is not something that anybody can be given. Freedom is something people take, and people are as free as they want to be”
James Baldwin
“I love America more than any other country in the world and, exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually.”
James Baldwin
“All art is a kind of confession, more or less oblique. All artists, if they are to survive, are forced, at last, to tell the whole story; to vomit the anguish up.”
James Baldwin
“People pay for what they do, and still more for what they have allowed themselves to become. And they pay for it very simply; by the lives they lead.”
James Baldwin
“Love takes off the masks we fear we cannot live without and know we cannot live within.”
James Baldwin
tags: love
“I can't believe what you say, because I see what you do.”
James Baldwin
“The paradox of education is precisely this - that as one begins to become conscious one begins to examine the society in which he is being educated. ”
James Baldwin
“Anyone who has ever struggled with poverty knows how extremely expensive it is to be poor.”
James Baldwin
“People can cry much easier than they can change.”
James Baldwin
“It is very nearly impossible to become an educated person in a country so distrustful of the independent mind.”
James Baldwin
“Love takes off the masks that we fear we cannot live without and know we cannot live within. I use the word "love" here not merely in the personal sense but as a state of being, or a state of grace - not in the infantile American sense of being made happy but in the tough and universal sense of quest and daring and growth.”
James Baldwin, The Fire Next Time
“People don't have any mercy. They tear you limb from limb, in the name of love. Then, when you're dead, when they've killed you by what they made you go through, they say you didn't have any character. They weep big, bitter tears - not for you. For themselves, because they've lost their toy.”
James Baldwin, Another Country
“The most dangerous creation of any society is the man who has nothing to lose.”
James Baldwin, The Fire Next Time
“To be a Negro in this country and to be relatively conscious is to be in a rage almost all the time. ”
James Baldwin
“Know from whence you came. If you know whence you came, there are absolutely no limitations to where you can go.”
James Baldwin
“People can't, unhappily, invent their mooring posts, their lovers and their friends, anymore than they can invent their parents. Life gives these and also takes them away and the great difficulty is to say Yes to life.”
James Baldwin, Giovanni's Room
“There are so many ways of being despicable it quite makes one’s head spin. But the way to be really despicable is to be contemptuous of other people’s pain.”
James Baldwin, Giovanni's Room
“True rebels after all, are as rare as true lovers,and in both cases, to mistake a fever for passion can destroy one's life”
James Baldwin
“The victim who is able to articulate the situation of the victim has ceased to be a victim: he or she has become a threat.”
James Baldwin
“You don’t have a home until you leave it and then, when you have left it, you never can go back.”
James Baldwin, Giovanni's Room
tags: home
“You write in order to change the world ... if you alter, even by a millimeter, the way people look at reality, then you can change it.”
James Baldwin
“It is certain, in any case, that ignorance, allied with power, is the most ferocious enemy justice can have.”
James Baldwin

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Giovanni's Room Giovanni's Room
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The Fire Next Time The Fire Next Time
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Notes of a Native Son Notes of a Native Son
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