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James Baldwin Quotes
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James Baldwin Quote: “The American ideal is, after all, that everyone should be as much alike as possible.”
James Baldwin Quote: “Freedom lurked around us and I understood, at last, that he could help us be free if we would listen, that he would never be free until we did.”
James Baldwin Quote: “There are few things more dreadful than dealing with a man who knows he is going under, in his own eyes, and in the eyes of others. Nothing can help that man. What is left of that man flees from what is left of human attention.”
James Baldwin Quote: “It will be a great day for America, incidentally, when we begin to eat bread again, instead of the blasphemous and tasteless foam rubber that we have substituted for it.”
James Baldwin Quote: “All I know about music is that not many people ever really hear it.”
James Baldwin Quote: “The occurrence of an event is not the same thing as knowing what it is that one has lived through.”
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: “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: “Voyagers discover that the world can never be larger than the person that is in the world; but it is impossible to foresee this, it is impossible to be warned.”
James Baldwin Quote: “I want to be an honest man and a good writer.”
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: “The world is mostly divided between madmen who remember and madmen who forget. Heroes are rare.”
James Baldwin Quote: “There is something fantastic in the spectacle I now present to myself of having run so far, so hard, across the ocean even, only to find myself brought up short once more before the bulldog in my own backyard – the yard, in the meantime, having grown smaller and the bulldog bigger.”
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: “Time catches up with kingdoms and crushes them, gets its teeth into doctrines and rends them; time reveals the foundations on which any kingdom rests, and eats at those foundations, and it destroys doctrines by proving them to be untrue.”
James Baldwin Quote: “Experience is a private, very largely speechless affair.”
James Baldwin Quote: “Drive to the heart of every answer and expose the question the answer hides.”
James Baldwin Quote: “One of the most terrible, most mysterious things about a life is that a warning can be heeded only in retrospect: too late.”
James Baldwin Quote: “We live in a nation of pigs and murderers.”
James Baldwin Quote: “When the book comes out it may hurt you – but in order for me to do it, it had to hurt me first. I can only tell you about yourself as much as I can face about myself.”
James Baldwin Quote: “All of Africa will be free before we can get a lousy cup of coffee.”
James Baldwin Quote: “You don’t realize that you’re intelligent until it gets you into trouble.”
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: “I can’t be a pessimist because I’m alive. To be a pessimist means that you have agreed that human life is an academic matter.”
James Baldwin Quote: “No matter how it seems now, I must confess: I loved him. I do not think that I will ever love anyone like that again. And this might be a great relief if I did not also know that, when the knife has fallen, Giovanni, if he feels anything will feel relief.”
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: “The greatest significance of the present student generation is that it is through them that the point of view of the subjugated is finally and inexorably being expressed.”
James Baldwin Quote: “Everyone wishes to be loved, but in the event, nearly no one can bear it. Everyone desires love but also finds it impossible to believe that he deserves it.”
James Baldwin Quote: “Love forces, at last, this humility: you cannot love if you cannot be loved, you cannot see if you cannot be seen.”
James Baldwin Quote: “His mind was like the sea itself: troubled, and too deep for the bravest man’s descent, throwing up now and again, for the naked eye to wonder at, treasure and debris long forgotten on the bottom – bones and jewels, fantastic shells, jelly that had once been flesh, pearls that had once been eyes. And he was at the mercy of this sea, hanging there with darkness all around him.”
James Baldwin Quote: “A child cannot, thank Heaven, know how vast and how merciless is the nature of power, with what unbelievable cruelty people treat each other. He reacts to the fear in his parents’ voices because his parents hold up the world for him and he has no protection without them.”
James Baldwin Quote: “I understood why Giovanni had wanted me and had brought me to his last retreat. I was to destroy this room and give to Giovanni a new and better life. This life could only be my own, which, in order to transform Giovanni’s, must first become a part of Giovanni’s room.”
James Baldwin Quote: “Any society inevitably produces its criminals, but a society at once rigid and unstable can do nothing whatever to alleviate the poverty of its lowest members, cannot present to the hypothetical young man at the crucial moment that so-well-advertised right path.”
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: “The poor are always crossing the Sahara. And the lawyers and bondsmen and all that crowd circle around the poor, exactly like vultures. Of course, they’re not any richer than the poor, really, that’s why they’ve turned into vultures, scavengers, indecent garbage men, and I’m talking about the black cats, too, who, in so many ways, are worse.”
James Baldwin Quote: “If you really want to know something about solitude, become famous.”
James Baldwin Quote: “People make you pay for the way you look, which is also the way you think you look, and what time writes is a record of that collision.”
James Baldwin Quote: “There is a ‘sanctity’ involved with bringing a child into this world: it is better than bombing one out of it.”
James Baldwin Quote: “There is something terribly radical about believing that one’s own experience and images are important enough to speak about, much less to write about and to perform.”
James Baldwin Quote: “The artistic image is not intended to represent the thing itself, but, rather, the reality of the force the thing contains.”
James Baldwin Quote: “The world sees what it wishes to see, or, when the chips are down, what you tell it to see: it does not wish to see who, or what, or why you are.”
James Baldwin Quote: “When he died I had been away from home for a little over a year. In that year I had had time to become aware of the meaning of all my father’s bitter warnings, had discovered the secret of his proudly pursed lips and rigid carriage: I had discovered the weight of white people in the world. I saw that this had been for my ancestors and now would be for me an awful thing to live with and that the bitterness which had helped to kill my father could also kill me.”
James Baldwin Quote: “I don’t know, now, when I first looked at Hella and found her stale, found her body uninteresting, her presence grating. It seemed to happen all at once – I suppose that only means that it had been happening for a long time.”
James Baldwin Quote: “I doesn’t do any good to fight with Sonny. Sonny just moves back, inside himself, where he can’t be reached.”
James Baldwin Quote: “Heavenly witnesses are a tricky lot, to be used by whoever is closest to Heaven at the time. And legend and theology, which are designed to sanctify our fears, crimes, and aspirations, also reveal them for what they are.”
James Baldwin Quote: “To accept one’s past – one’s history – is not the same thing as drowning in it; it is learning how to use it.”
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 responsibility of a writer is to excavate the experience of the people who produced him.”
James Baldwin Quote: “With this fearful intimation there opened in me a hatred for Giovanni which was as powerful as my love and which was nourished by the same roots.”
James Baldwin Quote: “Much has been written of love turning to hatred, of the heart growing cold with the death of love. It is a remarkable process. It is far more terrible than anything I have ever read about it, more terrible than anything I will ever be able to say. I.”
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