Top 100

Top 500 James Baldwin Quotes (2024 Update)
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James Baldwin Quote: “So what can we really do for each other except – just love each other and be each other’s witness? And haven’t we got the right to hope – for more? So that we can really stretch into whoever we really are?”
James Baldwin Quote: “If we know, then we must fight for your life as though it were our own-which it is-and render impassable with our bodies the corridors to the gas chamber. For if they come for you in the morning, they will be coming for us that night.”
James Baldwin Quote: “I’m beginning to think that maybe everything that happens makes sense. Like, if it didn’t make sense, how could it happen?”
James Baldwin Quote: “It is dangerous to be an American Negro male. America has never wanted its Negroes to be men, and does not, generally, treat them as men. It treats them as mascots, pets, or things.”
James Baldwin Quote: “All art is a kind of confession.”
James Baldwin Quote: “Employment is my right my destiny.”
James Baldwin Quote: “If one is continually surviving the worst that life can bring, one eventually ceases to be controlled by a fear of what life can bring; whatever it bring must be borne. And at this level of experience one’s bitterness begins to be palatable, and hatred becomes too heavy a sack to carry.”
James Baldwin Quote: “I guess it can’t be too often that two people can laugh and make love, too, make love because they are laughing, laugh because they’re making love. The love and the laughter come from the same place: but not many people go there.”
James Baldwin Quote: “You read something which you thought only happened to you, and you discover that it happened 100 years ago to Dostoyevsky. This is a very great liberation for the suffering, struggling person, who always thinks that he is alone. This is why art is important.”
James Baldwin Quote: “If we understood ourselves better we would damage ourselves less.”
James Baldwin Quote: “It was as though we were a picture, trapped in time: this had been happening for hundreds of years, people sitting in a room, waiting for dinner, and listening to the blues.”
James Baldwin Quote: “It’s astounding the first time you realize that a stranger has a body – the realization that he has a body makes him a stranger. It means that you have a body, too. You will live with this forever, and it will spell out the language of your life.”
James Baldwin Quote: “But I know about suffering; if that helps. I know that it ends. I ain’t going to tell you no lies, like it always ends for the better. Sometimes it ends for the worse. You can suffer so bad that you can be driven to a place where you can’t ever suffer again: and that’s worse.”
James Baldwin Quote: “But I felt that it was my heart which was broken. Something had broken in me to make me so cold and so perfectly still and far away.”
James Baldwin Quote: “There are few things under heaven more unnerving than the silent, accumulating contempt and hatred of a people.”
James Baldwin Quote: “Every writer has only one story to tell, and he has to find a way of telling it until the meaning becomes clearer and clearer, until the story becomes at once more narrow and larger, more and more precise, more and more reverberating.”
James Baldwin Quote: “I have been carried into precinct basements often enough, and I have seen and heard and endured the secrets of desperate white men and women, which they knew were safe with me, because even if I should speak, no one would believe me. And they would not believe me precisely because they would know that what I said was true.”
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: “The reason people think it’s important to be white is that they think it’s important not to be black.”
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: “It is really quite impossible to be affirmative about anything which one refuses to question; one is doomed to remain inarticulate about about anything which one hasn’t, by an act of the imagination, made one’s own.”
James Baldwin Quote: “I ain’t ashamed of it – I’m ashamed of you – you done made me feel a shame I ain’t never felt before. I shamed before my God – to let somebody make me cheap, like you done done.”
James Baldwin Quote: “But he had the tendency of all wildly disorganised people to suppose that the lives of others were tamer and less sensual and more cerebral than his own.”
James Baldwin Quote: “The Constitution gives you the right, as a white man, to have a rifle in your home. The Constitution gives you the right to protect yourself. Why is it ‘ominous’ when black people even talk of having rifles? Why don’t we have the right to self-defense? Is it because maybe you know we’re going to have to defend ourselves against you?”
James Baldwin Quote: “I don’t know any writers who don’t drink.”
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: “Vile as I am,” states one of the characters in Dostoevski’s The Idiot, “I don’t believe in the wagons that bring bread to humanity. For the wagons that bring bread to humanity, without any moral basis for conduct, may coldly exclude a considerable part of humanity from enjoying what is brought; so it has been already.”
James Baldwin Quote: “Man cannot live by profit alone.”
James Baldwin Quote: “A liar always knows he is lying, and that is why liars travel in packs: in order to be reassured that the judgment day will never come for them. They need each other for the well-being, the health, the perpetuation of their lie.”
James Baldwin Quote: “The questions which one asks oneself begin, at last, to illuminate the world, and become one’s key to the experience of others. One can only face in others what one can face in oneself. On this confrontation depends the measure of our wisdom and compassion. This energy is all that one finds in the rubble of vanished civilizations, and the only hope for ours.”
James Baldwin Quote: “To act is to be committed, and to be committed is to be in danger. In this case, the danger, in the minds of most white Americans, is the loss of their identity.”
James Baldwin Quote: “People can cry much easier than they can change, a rule of psychology people like me picked up as kids on the street.”
James Baldwin Quote: “The aim of the dreamer, after all, is merely to go on dreaming and not be molested by the world. His dreams are his protection against the world. But the aims of life are antithetical to those of the dreamer, and the teeth of the world are sharp.”
James Baldwin Quote: “It is perfectly possible to be enamoured of Paris while remaining totally indifferent or even hostile to the French.”
James Baldwin Quote: “The white man discovered the Cross by way of the Bible, but the black man discovered the Bible by way of the Cross.”
James Baldwin Quote: “Rage cannot be hidden, it can only be dissembled. This dissembling deludes the thoughtless, and strengthens rage and adds, to rage, contempt.”
James Baldwin Quote: “When the South has trouble with its Negroes when the Negroes refuse to remain in their “place” it blames “outside agitators” and “Northern interference.” When the nation has trouble with the Northern Negro, it blames the Kremlin.”
James Baldwin Quote: “No people come into possession of a culture without having paid a heavy price for it.”
James Baldwin Quote: “Confusion is a luxury which only the very, very young can possibly afford and you are not that young anymore.”
James Baldwin Quote: “And have brought humanity to the edge of oblivion: because they think they are white.”
James Baldwin Quote: “Take no one’s word for anything, including mine – but trust your experience.”
James Baldwin Quote: “If the word integration means anything, this is what it means that we, with love, shall force our brothers to see themselves as they are, to cease fleeing from reality and begin to change it.”
James Baldwin Quote: “Folks can change their ways much as they want to. But I don’t care how many times you change your ways, what’s in you is in you, and it’s got to come out.”
James Baldwin Quote: “Money, it turned out, was exactly like sex, you thought of nothing else if you didn’t have it and thought of other things if you did.”
James Baldwin Quote: “He was one of those people who, quick to laugh, are slow to anger; so that their anger, when it comes, is all the more impressive, seeming to leap from some unsuspected crevice like a fire which will bring the whole house down.”
James Baldwin Quote: “You know, and I know, that the country is celebrating one hundred years of freedom one hundred years too soon. We cannot be free until they are free.”
James Baldwin Quote: “He grins again, and everything inside me moves. Oh, love. Love.”
James Baldwin Quote: “People are too various to be treated so lightly. I am too various to be trusted.”
James Baldwin Quote: “The body in the mirror forces me to turn and face it. And I look at my body, which is under sentence of death. It is lean, hard, and cold, the incarnation of a mystery. And I do not know what moves in this body, what this body is searching. It is trapped in my mirror as it is trapped in time and it hurries toward revelation.”
James Baldwin Quote: “After my best friend jumped off the bridge, I knew that I was next. So-Paris. With forty dollars and a one-way ticket.”
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