James Baldwin Quotes

Quotes tagged as "james-baldwin" Showing 1-30 of 61
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

James Baldwin
“...love brought you here. If you trusted love this far, don't panic now.”
James Baldwin, If Beale Street Could Talk

James Baldwin
“Whose little boy are you?”
James Baldwin, The Fire Next Time

James Baldwin
“It is not really a “Negro revolution” that is upsetting the country. What is upsetting the country is a sense of its own identity. If, for example, one managed to change the curriculum in all the schools so that Negroes learned more about themselves and their real contributions to this culture, you would be liberating not only Negroes, you’d be liberating white people who know nothing about their own history. And the reason is that if you are compelled to lie about one aspect of anybody’s history, you must lie about it all. If you have to lie about my real role here, if you have to pretend that I hoed all that cotton just because I loved you, then you have done something to yourself. You are mad.”
James Baldwin

James Baldwin
“No curtain under heaven is heavier than that curtain of guilt and lies behind which white Americans hide.”
James Baldwin, Dark Days

Edward P. Jones
“The wonderful thing about writers like [James] Baldwin is the way we read them and come across passages that are so arresting we become breathless and have to raise our eyes from the page to keep from being spirited away.”
Edward P. Jones, Notes of a Native Son

James Baldwin
“The morning weighs on my shoulders with the dreadful weight of hope and I take the blue envelope which Jacques has sent me and tear it slowly into many pieces, watching them dance in the wind, watching the wind carry them away. Yet, as I turn and begin walking toward the waiting people, the wind blows some of them back on me.”
James Baldwin, Giovanni's Room

James Baldwin
“Since we live in an age in which silence is not only criminal but suicidal, I have been making as much noise as I can, here in Europe, on radio and television—in fact, have just returned from a land, Germany, which was made notorious by a silent majority not so very long ago.”
James Baldwin

James Baldwin
“White man, hear me! History, as nearly no one seems to know, is not merely something to be read. And it does not refer, merely, or even principally, to the past. On the contrary, the great force of history comes from the fact that we carry it within us, are unconsciously controlled by it in many ways, and history is literally present in all that we do.”
James Baldwin, Dark Days

Maya Angelou
“Jimmy said, "We survived slavery. Think about that. Not because we were strong. The American Indians were strong, and they were on their own land. But they have not survived genocide. You know how we survived?"

I said nothing.

"We put surviving into our poems and into our songs. We put it into our folk tales. We danced surviving in Congo Square in New Orleans and put it in our pots when we cooked pinto beans. We wore surviving on our backs when we clothed ourselves in the colors of the rainbow. We were pulled down so low we could hardly lift our eyes, so we knew, if we wanted to survive, we had better lift our own spirits. So we laughed whenever we got the chance.”
Maya Angelou, A Song Flung Up To Heaven

James Baldwin
“But in the end, it is the threat of universal extinction over all the world today that changes totally and forever the nature of reality and brings into devastating question the true meaning of man’s history. We human beings now have the power to exterminate ourselves. This seems to be the entire sum of our achievements. We have taken this journey and arrived at this place in God’s name. This then, is the best that God - the white God - can do. If that is so, then it is time to replace him.”
James Baldwin, The Fire Next Time

James Baldwin
“The conquests of England - every single one of them bloody - are part of what Americans have in mind when they speak of England’s glory. In the United States, violence and heroism have been made synonymous when it comes to Blacks. And the only way to defeat Malcom’s point is to concede and then ask oneself why this is so.”
James Baldwin, The Fire Next Time

James Baldwin
“Yet, if the American Negro has arrived at his identity by virtue of the absoluteness of his estrangement from his past, American white men still nourish the illusion that there is some means of recovering the European innocence, of returning to a state in which black men do not exist.”
James Baldwin, Notes of a Native Son

James Baldwin
“Terrifying, that the loss of intimacy with one person results in the freezing over of the world, and the loss of oneself! And terrifying that the terms of love are so rigorous, its checks and liberties so tightly bound together.”
James Baldwin, Another Country

James Baldwin
“It doesn't do any good to blame people or the time-- one is oneself all those people. We are the time.”
James Baldwin, Another Country

James Baldwin
“I'm beginning to think,' she said, 'that growing means learning more and more about anguish. That poison becomes your diet-- you drink a little of it everyday. Once you've seen it, you can't stop seeing it-- that's the trouble. And it can, it can' -- she passed her hand wearily over her brown again-- 'drive you mad.”
James Baldwin, Another Country

James Baldwin
“The people did not go away, of course; once a people arise, they never go away (a fact which should be included in the Marine handbook).”
James Baldwin

Edward P. Jones
“People, I have learned, have a way of taking root in one's still-developing mind without our knowing it, especially people, like [James] Baldwin, who live in the world of words.”
Edward P. Jones, Notes of a Native Son

James Baldwin
“no matter what Saint Paul may thunder, love is where you find it. A man can fall in love with a man: incarceration, torture, fire, and death, and, still more, the threat of these, have not been able to prevent it, and never will. It became a grave, a tragic matter, on the North American continent, where white power became indistinguishable from the question of sexual dominance. But the question of sexual dominance can exist only in the nightmare of that soul which has armed itself, totally, against the possibility of the changing motion of conquest and surrender, which is love.”
James Baldwin, The Devil Finds Work

James Baldwin
“The occurrence of an event is not the same thing as knowing what it is that one has lived through. Most people had not lived--nor could it, for that matter, be said that they had died--through any of their terrible events. They had simply been stunned by the hammer. They passed their lives thereafter in a kind of limbo of denied and unexamined pain. The great question that faced him this morning was whether or not he had ever, really, been present at his life. For if he had ever been present, then he was present still, and his world would open up before him.”
James Baldwin, Another Country

James Baldwin
“Now that his flight was so rigorously approaching its end, a light appeared, a backward light, throwing his terrors into relief.

And what were these terrors? They were buried beneath the impossible language of the time, lived underground where nearly all of the time's true feeling spitefully and incessantly fermented. Precisely, therefore, to the extent that they were inexpressible, were these terrors mighty; precisely because they lived in the dark were their shapes obscene. And because the taste for obscenity is universal and the appetite for reality rare and hard to cultivate, he had nearly perished in the basement of his private life. Or, more precisely, his fantasies.”
James Baldwin, Another Country

James Baldwin
“Birden Giovanni'nin beni neden istediğini, neden bu son sığınağına getirdiğini anladım. Bu odayı yıkacak, Giovanni'ye yeni ve daha iyi bir yaşam armağan edecektim. Bu yaşam ancak benim kendi yaşamım olabilirdi ve Giovanni'nin yaşamını değiştirebilmesi için benim yaşamımın da bu odanın bir parçası olması gerekecekti.”
James Baldwin, Giovanni's Room

James Baldwin
“İnsanlar her şeye kötü bir sıfat yakıştırmaktan hoşlanırlar. Bu sıfatları kullanmadıkları tek zaman, kendileriyle ilgili kötü bir şey anlattıkları zamanlardır.”
James Baldwin, Giovanni's Room

James Baldwin
“Beneath these faces, these clothes, accents, rudeness, was power and sorrow, both unadmitted, unrealized, the power of inventors, the sorrow of the disconnected.”
James Baldwin

James Baldwin
“there was a day, and not really a very distant day, when Americans were scarcely Americans at all but discontented Europeans, facing a great unconquered continent and strolling, say, into a marketplace and seeing black men for the first time. The shock this spectacle afforded is suggested, surely, by the promptness with which they decided that these black men were not really men but cattle. It is true that the necessity on the part of the settlers of the New World of reconciling their moral assumptions with the fact—and the necessity—of slavery enhanced immensely the charm of this idea, and it is also true that this idea expresses, with a truly American bluntness, the attitude which to varying extents all masters have had toward all slaves.”
James Baldwin, Notes of a Native Son

Maya Angelou
“Jimmy Baldwin was a whirlwind who stirred everything and everybody. He lived at a dizzying pace and I loved spinning with him.”
Maya Angelou, A Song Flung Up To Heaven

James Baldwin
“It was the face of a man, of a tormented man. Yet, in precisely the way that great music depends, ultimately, on great silence, this masculinity was defined, and made powerful, by something which was not masculine. But it was not feminine, either, and something in Vivaldo resisted the word androgynous. It was a quality to which great numbers of people would respond without not knowing to what it was they were responding. There was great force in the face, and great gentleness. But, as most women are not gentle, nor most men strong, it was a face which suggested, resonantly, in the depths, the truth about our natures.”
James Baldwin, Another Country

James Baldwin
“To be androgynous, Webster's informs us, is to have both male and female characteristics. This means that there is a man in every woman, and a woman in every man. Sometimes this is recognised only when the chips are, brutally, down - when there is no longer any way to avoid this recognition. But love between a man and a woman, or love between any two human beings, would not be possible did we not have available to us the spiritual resources of both sexes.”
James Baldwin, Here Be Dragons

James Baldwin
“Love him, said Jacques, with vehemence, love him and let him love you. Do you think anything else under heaven really matters? And how long, at the best, can it last, since you are both men and still have everywhere to go? Only five minutes, I assure you, only five minutes, and most of that, helas! in the dark. And if you think of them as dirty, then they will be dirty - they will be dirty because you will be giving nothing, you will be despising your flesh and his. But you can make your time together anything but dirty, you can give each other something which will make both of you better - forever - if you will not be ashamed, if you will only not play it safe.”
James Baldwin, Giovanni's Room

James Baldwin
“Each day he invited me to witness how he had changed, how love had changed him, how he worked and sang and cherished me. I was in a terrible confusion. Sometimes I thought, but this is your life. Stop fighting it. Or I thought, but I am happy. And he loves me. I am safe. Sometimes, when he was not near me, I thought, I will never let him touch me again. Then, when he touched me, I thought it doesn't matter, it is only the body, it will soon be over. When it was over I lay in the dark and listened to his breathing and dreamed of the touch of hands, of Giovanni's hands, or anybody's hands, hands which would have the power to crush me and make me whole again.”
James Baldwin, Giovanni's Room

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