Top 100

Top 500 James Baldwin Quotes (2023 Update)
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James Baldwin Quote: “The world is before you and you need not take it or leave it as it was when you came in.”
James Baldwin Quote: “Perhaps home is not a place but simply an irrevocable condition.”
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.”
James Baldwin Quote: “The sea rises, the light fails, lovers cling to each other, and children cling to us. The moment we cease to hold each other, the moment we break faith with one another, the sea engulfs us and the light goes out.”
James Baldwin Quote: “Any real change implies the breakup of the world as one has always known it, the loss of all that gave one an identity, the end of safety.”
James Baldwin Quote: “If you are going to be a writer there is nothing I can say to stop you; if you’re not going to be a writer nothing I can say will help you. What you really need at the beginning is somebody to let you know that the effort is real.”
James Baldwin Quote: “It demands great spiritual resilience not to hate the hater whose foot is on your neck, and an even greater miracle of perception and charity not to teach your child to hate.”
James Baldwin Quote: “A liberal: someone who thinks he knows more about your experience than you do.”
James Baldwin Quote: “You don’t need numbers; you need passion, and this is proven by the history of the world!”
James Baldwin Quote: “Yr crown has been bought and paid for. All you have to do is put it on yr head.”
James Baldwin Quote: “The moment we break faith with one another, the sea engulfs us and the light goes out.”
James Baldwin Quote: “What passes for identity in America is a series of myths about one’s heroic ancestors.”
James Baldwin Quote: “The American idea of racial progress is measured by how fast I become white.”
James Baldwin Quote: “There is never time in the future in which we will work out our salvation. The challenge is in the moment; the time is always now.”
James Baldwin Quote: “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 Quote: “If you think too far ahead, if you even try to think too far ahead, you’ll never make it.”
James Baldwin Quote: “The real victim of bigotry is the white man who hides his weakness under his myth of superiority.”
James Baldwin Quote: “People who shut their eyes to reality simply invite their own destruction.”
James Baldwin Quote: “Experience, which destroys innocence, also leads one back to it.”
James Baldwin Quote: “To ask questions of the universe, and then learn to live with those questions, is the way he achieves his own identity.”
James Baldwin Quote: “Nothing is more desirable than to be released from an affliction, but nothing is more frightening than to be divested of a crutch.”
James Baldwin Quote: “Neither love nor terror makes one blind: indifference makes one blind.”
James Baldwin Quote: “For, while the tale of how we suffer, and how we are delighted, and how we may triumph is never new, it always must be heard. There isn’t any other tale to tell, it’s the only light we’ve got in all this darkness.”
James Baldwin Quote: “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 Quote: “Life is more important than art; that’s what makes art important.”
James Baldwin Quote: “The wretched of the earth do not decide to become extinct, they resolve, on the contrary, to multiply: life is their weapon against life, life is all that they have.”
James Baldwin Quote: “And love will simply have no choice but to go into battle with space and time, and furthermore, to win.”
James Baldwin Quote: “People are trapped in history and history is trapped in them.”
James Baldwin Quote: “When you’re writing, you’re trying to find out something which you don’t know. The whole language of writing for me is finding out what you don’t want to know, what you don’t want to find out. But something forces you to anyway.”
James Baldwin Quote: “You know, it’s not the world that was my oppressor, because what the world does to you, if the world does it to you long enough and effectively enough, you begin to do to yourself.”
James Baldwin Quote: “The interior life is a real life, and the intangible dreams of people have a tangible effect on the world.”
James Baldwin Quote: “You don’t have a home until you leave it and then, when you have left it, you never can go back.”
James Baldwin Quote: “Everything in life depends on how that life accepts its limits.”
James Baldwin Quote: “If you’re afraid to die, you will not be able to live.”
James Baldwin Quote: “It is a terrible, an inexorable law that one cannot deny the humanity of another without diminishing one’s own: in the face of one’s victim, one sees oneself.”
James Baldwin Quote: “I can’t be a pessimist because I am alive. To be a pessimist means that you have agreed that human life is an academic matter. So, I am forced to be an optimist. I am forced to believe that we can survive, whatever we must survive.”
James Baldwin Quote: “Passion is not friendly. It is arrogant, superbly contemptuous of all that is not itself, and, as they very definition of passion implies the impulse to freedom, it has a might intimidiating power. It contains a challenge. It contains an unspeakable hope.”
James Baldwin Quote: “But, when the chips are down, its better to be furious with someone you love, or frightened for someone you love, than be put through the merciless horror of being ashamed of someone you love.”
James Baldwin Quote: “God be thanked for books! They are the voices of the distant and the dead.”
James Baldwin Quote: “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 Quote: “You write in order to change the world.”
James Baldwin Quote: “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 Quote: “There was no room in God’s army for the coward heart, no crown awaiting him who put mother or father, sister or brother, sweetheart or friend above God’s will. Let the church cry amen to this!”
James Baldwin Quote: “To be sensual, I think, is to respect and rejoice in the force of life, of life itself, and to be present in all that one does, from the effort of loving to the making of bread.”
James Baldwin Quote: “When a man asks himself what is meant by action he proves that he isn’t a man of action. Action is a lack of balance. In order to act you must be somewhat insane. A reasonably sensible man is satisfied with thinking.”
James Baldwin Quote: “The power of the white world is threatened whenever a black man refuses to accept the white world’s definitions.”
James Baldwin Quote: “I will no longer take anyone’s word for my experience.”
James Baldwin Quote: “An identity would seem to be arrived at by the way in which the person faces and uses his experience.”
James Baldwin Quote: “The past is what makes the present coherent, and the past will remain horrible for exactly as long as we refuse to assess it honestly.”
James Baldwin Quote: “James Joyce is right about history being a nightmare – but it may be that nightmare from which no one can awaken. People are trapped in history and history in trapped in them.”
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