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James Baldwin Quotes

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James Baldwin Quote: “Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.”

Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.

— James Baldwin



James Baldwin Quote: “I can’t believe what you say, because I see what you do.”

I can’t believe what you say, because I see what you do.

— James Baldwin


James Baldwin Quote: “I love America more than any other country in this world, and, exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually.”

I love America more than any other country in this world, and, exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually.

— James Baldwin


James Baldwin Quote: “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.”

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


James Baldwin Quote: “The most dangerous creation of any society is the man who has nothing to lose.”

The most dangerous creation of any society is the man who has nothing to lose.

— James Baldwin


James Baldwin Quote: “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.”

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 Baldwin


James Baldwin Quote: “To be black and conscious in America is to be in a constant state of rage.”

To be black and conscious in America is to be in a constant state of rage.

— James Baldwin


James Baldwin Quote: “It is certain, in any case, that ignorance, allied with power, is the most ferocious enemy justice can have.”

It is certain, in any case, that ignorance, allied with power, is the most ferocious enemy justice can have.

— James Baldwin


James Baldwin Quote: “Those who say it can’t be done are usually interrupted by others doing it.”

Those who say it can’t be done are usually interrupted by others doing it.

— James Baldwin


James Baldwin Quote: “Know from whence you came. If you know whence you came, there are absolutely no limitations to where you can go.”

Know from whence you came. If you know whence you came, there are absolutely no limitations to where you can go.

— James Baldwin



James Baldwin Quote: “The role of the artist is exactly the same as the role of the lover. If I love you, I have to make you conscious of the things you don’t see.”

The role of the artist is exactly the same as the role of the lover. If I love you, I have to make you conscious of the things you don’t see.

— James Baldwin


James Baldwin Quote: “It took many years of vomiting up all the filth I’d been taught about myself, and half-believed, before I was able to walk on the earth as though I had a right to be here.”

It took many years of vomiting up all the filth I’d been taught about myself, and half-believed, before I was able to walk on the earth as though I had a right to be here.

— James Baldwin


James Baldwin Quote: “Artists are here to disturb the peace.”

Artists are here to disturb the peace.

— James Baldwin


James Baldwin Quote: “You have to go the way your blood beats. If you don’t live the only life you have, you won’t live some other life, you won’t live any life at all.”

You have to go the way your blood beats. If you don’t live the only life you have, you won’t live some other life, you won’t live any life at all.

— James Baldwin


James Baldwin Quote: “Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them.”

Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them.

— James Baldwin


James Baldwin Quote: “I’ve always believed that you can think positive just as well as you can think negative.”

I’ve always believed that you can think positive just as well as you can think negative.

— James Baldwin


James Baldwin Quote: “The challenge is in the moment; the time is always now.”

The challenge is in the moment; the time is always now.

— James Baldwin


James Baldwin Quote: “You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read.”

You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read.

— James Baldwin


James Baldwin Quote: “Freedom is not something that anybody can be given. Freedom is something people take, and people are as free as they want to be.”

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


James Baldwin Quote: “Love takes off masks that we fear we cannot live without and know we cannot live within.”

Love takes off masks that we fear we cannot live without and know we cannot live within.

— James Baldwin



James Baldwin Quote: “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.”

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


James Baldwin Quote: “A civilization is not destroyed by wicked people; it is not necessary that people be wicked but only that they be spineless.”

A civilization is not destroyed by wicked people; it is not necessary that people be wicked but only that they be spineless.

— James Baldwin


James Baldwin Quote: “You have to decide who you are and force the world to deal with you, not with its idea of you.”

You have to decide who you are and force the world to deal with you, not with its idea of you.

— James Baldwin


James Baldwin Quote: “We are responsible for the world in which we find ourselves, if only because we are the only sentient force which can change it.”

We are responsible for the world in which we find ourselves, if only because we are the only sentient force which can change it.

— James Baldwin


James Baldwin Quote: “I can’t be a pessimist, because I am alive.”

I can’t be a pessimist, because I am alive.

— James Baldwin


James Baldwin Quote: “Anyone who has ever struggled with poverty knows how extremely expensive it is to be poor.”

Anyone who has ever struggled with poverty knows how extremely expensive it is to be poor.

— James Baldwin


James Baldwin Quote: “People can cry much easier than they can change.”

People can cry much easier than they can change.

— James Baldwin


James Baldwin Quote: “American history is longer, larger, more various, more beautiful, and more terrible than anything anyone has ever said about it.”

American history is longer, larger, more various, more beautiful, and more terrible than anything anyone has ever said about it.

— James Baldwin


James Baldwin Quote: “Recognizing a problem doesn’t always bring a solution, but until we recognize that problem, there can be no solution.”

Recognizing a problem doesn’t always bring a solution, but until we recognize that problem, there can be no solution.

— James Baldwin


James Baldwin Quote: “You cannot fix what you will not face.”

You cannot fix what you will not face.

— James Baldwin


James Baldwin Quote: “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.”

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


James Baldwin Quote: “Talent is insignificant. I know a lot of talented ruins. Beyond talent lie all the usual words: discipline, love, luck, but, most of all, endurance.”

Talent is insignificant. I know a lot of talented ruins. Beyond talent lie all the usual words: discipline, love, luck, but, most of all, endurance.

— James Baldwin


James Baldwin Quote: “For these are all our children, we will all profit by or pay for whatthey become.”

For these are all our children, we will all profit by or pay for whatthey become.

— James Baldwin


James Baldwin Quote: “Writing is a political instrument.”

Writing is a political instrument.

— James Baldwin


James Baldwin Quote: “If I am not what you say I am, then you are not who you think you are.”

If I am not what you say I am, then you are not who you think you are.

— James Baldwin


James Baldwin Quote: “The purpose of art is to lay bare the questions that have been hidden by the answers.”

The purpose of art is to lay bare the questions that have been hidden by the answers.

— James Baldwin


James Baldwin Quote: “I am what time, circumstance, history, have made of me, certainly, but I am also, much more than that. So are we all.”

I am what time, circumstance, history, have made of me, certainly, but I am also, much more than that. So are we all.

— James Baldwin


James Baldwin Quote: “We do not trust educated people and rarely, alas, produce them, for we do not trust the independence of mind which alone makes a genuine education possible.”

We do not trust educated people and rarely, alas, produce them, for we do not trust the independence of mind which alone makes a genuine education possible.

— James Baldwin


James Baldwin Quote: “Precisely at the point when you begin to develop a conscience you must find yourself at war with your society.”

Precisely at the point when you begin to develop a conscience you must find yourself at war with your society.

— James Baldwin


James Baldwin Quote: “In order to have a conversation with someone you must reveal yourself.”

In order to have a conversation with someone you must reveal yourself.

— James Baldwin


James Baldwin Quote: “If we do not now dare everything, the fulfillment of that prophecy, re-created from the Bible in song by a slave, is upon us: God gave Noah the rainbow sign. No more water, fire next time.”

If we do not now dare everything, the fulfillment of that prophecy, re-created from the Bible in song by a slave, is upon us: God gave Noah the rainbow sign. No more water, fire next time.

— James Baldwin


James Baldwin Quote: “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.”

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


James Baldwin Quote: “Hatred is always self hatred, and there is something suicidal about it.”

Hatred is always self hatred, and there is something suicidal about it.

— James Baldwin


James Baldwin Quote: “You want to write a sentence as clean as a bone. That is the goal.”

You want to write a sentence as clean as a bone. That is the goal.

— James Baldwin


James Baldwin Quote: “Trust life, and it will teach you, in joy and sorrow, all you need to know.”

Trust life, and it will teach you, in joy and sorrow, all you need to know.

— James Baldwin


James Baldwin Quote: “People who shut their eyes to reality simply invite their own destruction, and anyone who insists on remaining in a state on innocence long after that innocence is dead turns himself into a monster.”

People who shut their eyes to reality simply invite their own destruction, and anyone who insists on remaining in a state on innocence long after that innocence is dead turns himself into a monster.

— James Baldwin


James Baldwin Quote: “Love is like the lightning, and your maturity is signaled by the extent to which you can accept the dangers and the power and the beauty of love.”

Love is like the lightning, and your maturity is signaled by the extent to which you can accept the dangers and the power and the beauty of love.

— James Baldwin


James Baldwin Quote: “Yr crown has been bought and paid for. All you have to do is put it on yr head.”

Yr crown has been bought and paid for. All you have to do is put it on yr head.

— James Baldwin


James Baldwin Quote: “The moment we break faith with one another, the sea engulfs us and the light goes out.”

The moment we break faith with one another, the sea engulfs us and the light goes out.

— James Baldwin


James Baldwin Quote: “To be a Negro in this country and to be relatively conscious is to be in a rage almost all the 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

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