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Top 500 James Baldwin Quotes (2022 Update)
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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: “I met a lot of people in Europe. I even encountered myself.”
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: “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: “Please try to remember that what they believe, as well as what they do and cause you to endure does not testify to your inferiority but to their inhumanity.”
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: “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: “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: “No people come into possession of a culture without having paid a heavy price for it.”
James Baldwin Quote: “Education is indoctrination if you’re white – subjugation if you’re black.”
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: “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: “After my best friend jumped off the bridge, I knew that I was next. So-Paris. With forty dollars and a one-way ticket.”
James Baldwin Quote: “This is the charged, the dangerous moment, when everything must be re-examined, must be made new, when nothing at all can be taken for granted.”
James Baldwin Quote: “I conceive of God, in fact, as a means of liberation and not a means to control others.”
James Baldwin Quote: “But our humanity is our burden, our life; we need not battle for it; we need only to do what is infinitely more difficult – that is, accept it.”
James Baldwin Quote: “He grins again, and everything inside me moves. Oh, love. Love.”
James Baldwin Quote: “And have brought humanity to the edge of oblivion: because they think they are white.”
James Baldwin Quote: “A child cannot be taught by anyone who despises him, and a child cannot afford to be fooled.”
James Baldwin Quote: “A ghetto can be improved in one way only: out of existence.”
James Baldwin Quote: “Take no one’s word for anything, including mine – but trust your experience.”
James Baldwin Quote: “This world is white no longer, and it will never be white again.”
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: “If you know whence you came, there is really no limit to where you can go.”
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: “It is perfectly possible to be enamoured of Paris while remaining totally indifferent or even hostile to the French.”
James Baldwin Quote: “And I was yet aware that this was only a moment, that the world waited outside, as hungry as a tiger, and that trouble stretched above us, longer than the sky.”
James Baldwin Quote: “He made me think of home – perhaps home is not a place but simply an irrevocable condition.”
James Baldwin Quote: “I was guilty and irritated and full of love and pain. I wanted to kick him and I wanted to take him in my arms.”
James Baldwin Quote: “It is impossible to pretend that you are not heir to, and therefore, however inadequately or unwillingly, responsible to, and for, the time and place that give you life – without becoming, at very best, a dangerously disoriented human being.”
James Baldwin Quote: “You were born into a society which spelled out with brutal clarity, and in as many ways as possible, that you were a worthless human being. You were not expected to aspire to excellence: you were expected to make peace with mediocrity.”
James Baldwin Quote: “People are too various to be treated so lightly. I am too various to be trusted.”
James Baldwin Quote: “It comes as a great shock to see Gary Cooper killing off the Indians and, although you are rooting for Gary Cooper, that the Indians is you.”
James Baldwin Quote: “I really mean that there was no love in the church. It was a mask for hatred and self-hatred and despair.”
James Baldwin Quote: “You were born where you were born and faced the future that you faced because you were black and for no other reason. The limits of your ambition were, thus expected to be set forever... You were not expected to aspire to excellence: you were expected to make peace with mediocrity.”
James Baldwin Quote: “For nothing is more unbearable, once one has it, than freedom.”
James Baldwin Quote: “We take our shape, it is true, within and against that cage of reality bequeathed us at our birth; and yet it is precisely through our dependence on this reality that we are most endlessly betrayed.”
James Baldwin Quote: “There are too many things we do not wish to know about ourselves.”
James Baldwin Quote: “There are people in the world for whom “coming along” is a perpetual process, people who are destined never to arrive.”
James Baldwin Quote: “If you’re treated a certain way you become a certain kind of person. If certain things are described to you as being real they’re real for you whether they’re real or not.”
James Baldwin Quote: “If one cannot risk oneself, then one is simply incapable of giving. And, after all, one can give freedom only be setting someone free.”
James Baldwin Quote: “All over Harlem, Negro boys and girls are growing into stunted maturity, trying desperately to find a place to stand; and the wonder is not that so many are ruined but that so many survive.”
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 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: “For this is your home, my friend, do not be driven from it; great men have done great things here, and will again, and we can make America what America must become. It will be hard, James, but you come from sturdy, peasant stock, men who picked cotton and dammed rivers and built railroads, and, in the teeth of the most terrifying odds, achieved an unassailable and monumental dignity.”
James Baldwin Quote: “It must be remembered that the oppressed and the oppressor are bound together within the same society; they accept the same criteria, they share the same beliefs, they both alike depend on the same reality.”
James Baldwin Quote: “The world is mostly divided between madmen who remember and madmen who forget. Heroes are rare.”
James Baldwin Quote: “Life is tragic simply because the earth turns and the sun inexorably rises and sets, and one day, for each of us, the sun will go down for the last, last time. Perhaps the whole root of our trouble, the human trouble, is that we will sacrifice all the beauty of our lives, will imprison ourselves in totems, taboos, crosses, blood sacrifices, steeples, mosques, races, armies, flags, nations, in order to deny the fact of death, which is the only fact we have.”
James Baldwin Quote: “Yet one must also recognize that morality is based on ideas and that all ideas are dangerous – dangerous because ideas can only lead to action and where the action leads no man can say.”
James Baldwin Quote: “One is responsible to life: It is the small beacon in that terrifying darkness from which we come and to which we shall return.”
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