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James Baldwin Quotes
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James Baldwin Quote: “Americans, unhappily, have the most remarkable ability to alchemize all bitter truths into an innocuous but piquant confection and to transform their moral contradictions, or public discussion of such contradictions, into a proud decoration, such as are given for heroism on the field of battle.”
James Baldwin Quote: “Little breezes dusk 3 and shiver Through the wave that runs forever By the island in the river Flowing down to Camelot; Four gray walls, and four gray towers, Overlook a space of flowers, And the silent isle imbowers The Lady of Shalott.”
James Baldwin Quote: “Observing that, from this height, the city which had been so dark as he walked through it seemed to be on fire.”
James Baldwin Quote: “Everything was as it had been between us, and at the same time everything was different.”
James Baldwin Quote: “We held each other so close that we might indeed have been one body.”
James Baldwin Quote: “The way to be really despicable is to be contemptuous of other people’s pain.”
James Baldwin Quote: “It is entirely unacceptable that I should have no voice in the political affairs of my own country, for I am not a ward of America; I am one of the first Americans to arrive on these shores.”
James Baldwin Quote: “A real writer is always shifting and changing and searching.”
James Baldwin Quote: “We have all had the experience of finding that our reactions and perhaps even our deeds have denied beliefs we thought were ours.”
James Baldwin Quote: “I don’t know any writers who don’t drink.”
James Baldwin Quote: “In any event, the sloppy and fatuous nature of American good will can never be relied upon to deal with hard problems. These have been dealt with, when they have been dealt with at all, out of necessity – and in political terms, anyway, necessity means concessions made in order to stay on top.”
James Baldwin Quote: “Perhaps such secrets, the secrets of everyone, were only expressed when the person laboriously ragged them into the light of the world, imposed them on the world, and made them a part of the world’s experience. Without this effort, the secret place was merely a dungeon in which the person perished; without this effort, indeed, the entire world would be an uninhabitable darkness; and she saw, with a dreadful reluctance why this effort was so rare.”
James Baldwin Quote: “The sunlight came into the room with the peacefulness one remembers from rooms in one’s early childhood – a sunlight encountered later only in one’s dreams.”
James Baldwin Quote: “It is hard for anyone under twenty to realise that death has already assigned them a number, which is going to come up one day.”
James Baldwin Quote: “But art and ideas come out of the passion and torment of experience: it is impossible to have a real relationship to the first if one’s aim is to be protected from the second.”
James Baldwin Quote: “People are continually pointing out to me the wretchedness of white people in order to console me for the wretchedness of blacks. But an itemized account of the American failure does not console me and it should not console anyone else.”
James Baldwin Quote: “The young think that failure is the Siberian end of the line, banishment from all the living, and tend to do what I then did – which was to hide.”
James Baldwin Quote: “They are just dirty, all of them, low and cheap and dirty.′ He stretched out his hand and pulled me down to the floor beside him. ‘All except you. Tous, sauf toi.’ He held my face between his hands and I supposed such tenderness has scarcely ever produced such terror as I then felt. ‘Ne me laisse pas tomber, je t’en prie,’ he said, and kissed me, with a strange insistent gentleness on the mouth.”
James Baldwin Quote: “But, in the end, it is the threat of universal extinction hanging 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 achievement.”
James Baldwin Quote: “The breathing instruments inspire, Wake into voice each silent string, And sweep the sounding lyre! In a sadly pleasing strain, 2 Let the warbling lute complain: Let the loud trumpet sound, Till the roofs all around The shrill echoes rebound; While in more lengthen’d notes and slow, The deep, majestic, solemn organs blow. Hark! the numbers soft and clear Gently steal upon the.”
James Baldwin Quote: “I had to get out of there for my face showed too much, the war in my body was dragging me down. My feet refused to carry me over to him again. The wind of my life was blowing me away.”
James Baldwin Quote: “In the culture to be born there will no doubt be old and new elements. How these elements will be mixed is not a question to which any individual can respond. The response must be given by the community. But we can say this: that the response will be given, and not verbally, but in tangible facts, and by action.”
James Baldwin Quote: “And then: ‘Here comes your baby. Sois sage. Sois chic.’ He moved slightly away and began talking to the boy next to him. And here my baby came indeed, through all that sunlight, his face flushed and his hair flying, his eyes, unbelievably, like morning stars.”
James Baldwin Quote: “I did not know, however, that ancient glories imply, at least in the middle of the present century, present fatigue and, quite probably, paranoia; that there is a limit to the role of intelligence in human affairs; and that no people come into possession of a culture without having paid a heavy price for it.”
James Baldwin Quote: “I wish I had heard him more clearly: an oblique confession is always a plea.”
James Baldwin Quote: “It is rare indeed that people give. Most people guard and keep; they suppose that it is they themselves and what they identify with themselves that they are guarding and keeping, whereas what they are actually guarding and keeping is their system of reality and what they assume themselves to be. One can give nothing whatever without giving oneself – that is to say, risking oneself. If one cannot risk oneself, then one is simply incapable of giving.”
James Baldwin Quote: “The mind is like an object that picks up dust. The object doesn’t know, any more than the mind does, why what clings to it clings.”
James Baldwin Quote: “They knew his taxi better than they knew him, if you see what I mean. People always know the outside better than they know the inside.”
James Baldwin Quote: “I wish to God I may die if I don’t love you. There ain’t no sky above us if I don’t love you.”
James Baldwin Quote: “A mob is not autonomous: it executes the real will of the people who rule the State.”
James Baldwin Quote: “Try to imagine how you would feel if you woke up one morning to find the sun shining and all the stars aflame. You would be frightened because it is out of the order of nature. Any upheaval in the universe is terrifying because it so profoundly attacks one’s sense of one’s own reality. Well, the black man has functioned in the white man’s world as a fixed star, as an immovable pillar: and as he moves out of his place, heaven and earth are shaken to their foundation.”
James Baldwin Quote: “I thought she would be fun to have fun with.”
James Baldwin Quote: “You might feel different out there, with all the sunshine and oranges and all.”
James Baldwin Quote: “And: the only way anything ever gets done is when you make up your mind to do it.”
James Baldwin Quote: “I remember what it was... to be young, very young. When everything, touching and tasting-everything- was so new, and even suffering was wonderful because it was so complete.”
James Baldwin Quote: “Some moments in a life, and they needn’t be very long or seem very important, can make up for so much in that life; can redeem, justify, that pain, that bewilderment, with which one lives, and invest one with the courage not only to endure it, but to profit from it; some moments teach one the price of human connection: if one can live with one’s own pain, then one respects the pain of others, and so, briefly, but transcendentally, we can release each other from pain.”
James Baldwin Quote: “The price of the liberation of the white people is the liberation of the blacks – the total liberation, in the cities, in the towns, before the law, and in the mind.”
James Baldwin Quote: “A man is not a man until he’s able and willing to accept his own vision of the world, no matter how radically this vision departs from that of others.”
James Baldwin Quote: “Lord, that Hollywood train, forever coming round the bend!”
James Baldwin Quote: “Most people are not naturally reflective any more than they are naturally malicious, and the white man prefers to keep the black man at a certain human remove because it is easier for him thus to preserve his simplicity and avoid being called to account for crimes committed by his forefathers, or his neighbors.”
James Baldwin Quote: “A mob is not autonomous: it executes the real will of the people who rule the State. The slaughter in Birmingham, Alabama, for example, was not merely the action of a mob.”
James Baldwin Quote: “If men don’t know what’s happening, what they’re doing, where they’re going – what are women to do? If Richard doesn’t know what kind of world he wants, how am I to help him make it? What am I to tell our sons?”
James Baldwin Quote: “It is cruel to have made me want to live only to make my death more bloody.”
James Baldwin Quote: “In Africa, he said, there was none whatever. Africans do not, in fact, believe that Christianity is any longer real for Europeans, due to the immense scaffolding with which they have covered it, and the fact that this religion has no effect whatever on their conduct.”
James Baldwin Quote: “I do a lot of rewriting. It’s very painful.”
James Baldwin Quote: “Anyone who has ever struggled with poverty knows how extremely expensive it is to be poor; and if one is a member of a captive population, economically speaking, one’s feet have simply been placed on the treadmill forever.”
James Baldwin Quote: “The crime of which you discover slowly you are guilty is not so much that you are aware, which is bad enough, but that other people see that you are and cannot bear to watch it, because it testifies to the fact that they are not.”
James Baldwin Quote: “The power to define the other seals one’s definition of oneself.”
James Baldwin Quote: “All the western nations are caught in a lie, the lie of their pretended humanism: this means that their history has no moral justification, and that the West has no moral authority.”
James Baldwin Quote: “The projects in Harlem are hated. They are hated almost as much as policemen, and this is saying a great deal. And they are hated for the same reason: both reveal, unbearably, the real attitude of the white world, no matter how many liberal speeches are made, no matter how many lofty editorials are written, no matter how many civil-rights commissions are set up.”
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