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James Baldwin Quotes
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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: “You read something which you thought only happened to you, and you discovered it happened 100 years ago to Dostoyevsky.”
James Baldwin Quote: “It’s a miracle to realize that somebody loves you.”
James Baldwin Quote: “People evolve a language in order to describe and thus control their circumstances, or in order not to be submerged by a reality that they cannot articulate.”
James Baldwin Quote: “These captive men are the hidden price for a hiden lie: the righteous must be able to locate the damned.”
James Baldwin Quote: “Hatred destroys the person who hates.”
James Baldwin Quote: “It takes strength to remember, it takes another kind of strength to forget, it takes a hero to do both. People who remember court madness through pain, the pain of the perpetually recurring death of their innocence; people who forget court another kind of madness, the madness of the denial of pain and the hatred of innocence; and the world is mostly divided between madmen who remember and madmen who forget. Heroes are rare.”
James Baldwin Quote: “People always seem to band together in accordance to a principle that has nothing to do with love, a principle that releases them from personal responsibility.”
James Baldwin Quote: “Unless a writer is extremely old when he dies, in which case he has probably become a neglected institution, his death must always seem untimely.”
James Baldwin Quote: “I simply wondered about the dead because their days had ended and I did not know how I would get through mine.”
James Baldwin Quote: “Everything depends on how relentlessly one forces from experience the last drop, sweet or bitter, it can possibly give.”
James Baldwin Quote: “They say the kids are dumb and so they’re teaching them to work with their hands. Those kids aren’t dumb. But the people who run these schools want to make sure that they don’t get smart: they are really teaching the kids to be slaves.”
James Baldwin Quote: “When you’re writing you’re trying to find out something which you don’t know.”
James Baldwin Quote: “At four o’clock in the morning, when everyone is drunk enough, then extraordinary things can happen.”
James Baldwin Quote: “Rage can only with difficulty, and never entirely, be brought under the domination of the intelligence, and therefore is not susceptible to any arguments whatsoever.”
James Baldwin Quote: “No curtain under heaven is heavier than that curtain of guilt and lies behind which white Americans hide.”
James Baldwin Quote: “The relatively conscious whites and the relatively conscious blacks, who must, like lovers, insist on, or create, the consciousness of the others in order to end the racial nightmare and acheive our country.”
James Baldwin Quote: “John’s heart was hardened against the Lord. His father was God’s minister, the ambassador of the King of Heaven, and John could not bow before the throne of grace without first kneeling to his father.”
James Baldwin Quote: “It is said that the camera cannot lie, but rarely do we allow it to do anything else, since the camera sees what you point it at: the camera sees what you want it to see.”
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: “Swifter far than summer’s flight, Swifter far than youth’s delight, Swifter far than happy night, Art thou come and gone: As the earth when leaves are dead, As the night when sleep is sped, As the heart when joy is fled, I am left alone, alone.”
James Baldwin Quote: “There is often something beautiful, there is always something awful, in the spectacle of a a person who has lost one of his faculties, a faculty he never questioned until it was gone, and who struggles to recover it. Yet people remain people, on crutches or indeed on deathbeds...”
James Baldwin Quote: “The innocent brightness of a new-born day Is lovely yet: The clouds that gather round the setting sun 19 Do take a sober coloring from an eye That hath kept watch o’er man’s mortality; Another race hath been, and other palms are won.”
James Baldwin Quote: “I had decided to allow no room in the universe for something which shamed and frightened me.”
James Baldwin Quote: “It was the Lord who knew of the impossibility every parent in that room faced: how to prepare the child for the day when the child would be despised and how to create in the child – by what means? – a stronger antidote to this poison than one had found for oneself.”
James Baldwin Quote: “The vision people hold of the world to come is but a reflection, with predictable wishful distortions, of the world in which they live.”
James Baldwin Quote: “It is astonishing that in a country so devoted to the individual, so many people should be afraid to speak.”
James Baldwin Quote: “The male cannot bear very much humiliation; and he really cannot bear it, it obliterates him.”
James Baldwin Quote: “The Americans have no sense of doom, none whatever. They do not recognize doom when they see it.”
James Baldwin Quote: “Time could not be bought. The only coin time accepted was life.”
James Baldwin Quote: “You smiled at me the way you smiled at everyone, you told me what you told everyone – and you tell nothing but lies. What are you always hiding? And do you think I did not know when you made love to me, you were making love to no one? No one! Or everyone – but not me, certainly. I am nothing to you, nothing, and you bring me fever but no delight.”
James Baldwin Quote: “The writer’s greed is appalling. He wants, or seems to want, everything and practically everybody, in another sense, and at the same time, he needs no one at all.”
James Baldwin Quote: “People who cling to their illusions find it difficult, if not impossible, to learn anything worth learning: a people under the necessity of creating themselves must examine everything, and soak up learning the way the roots of a tree soak up water.”
James Baldwin Quote: “All I know about music is that not many people ever really hear it. And even then, on the rare occasions when something opens within, and the music enters, what we mainly hear, or hear corroborated, are personal, private, vanishing evocations. But the man who creates the music is hearing something else, is dealing with the roar rising from the void and imposing order on it as it hits the air. What is evoked in him, then, is of another order, more terrible because it has no words, and triumphant, too, for that same reason. And his triumph, when he triumphs, is ours.”
James Baldwin Quote: “One must be careful not to take refuge in any delusion.”
James Baldwin Quote: “What it comes to is that if we, who can scarcely be considered a white nation, persist in thinking of ourselves as one, we condemn ourselves, with the truly white nations, to sterility and decay, whereas if we could accept ourselves as we are, we might bring new life to the Western achievements, and transform them.”
James Baldwin Quote: “In this endeavor to wed the vision of the Old World with that of the New, it is the writer, not the statesman, who is our strongest arm. Though we do not wholly believe it yet, the interior life is a real life, and the intangible dreams of people have a tangible effect on the world.”
James Baldwin Quote: “I think Americans are terrified of feeling anything. I never met a people more infantile in my life.”
James Baldwin Quote: “Only a man can see in the face of a woman the girl she was. It is a secret which can be revealed only to a particular man, and, then, only at his insistence. But men have no secrets, except from women, and never grow up in the way that women do. It is very much harder, and it takes much longer, for a man to grow up, and he could never do it at all without women. This is a mystery which can terrify and immobilize a woman, and it is always the key to her deepest distress.”
James Baldwin Quote: “When he was dead I realized that I had hardly ever spoken to him. When he had been dead a long time I began to wish I had. It seems to be typical of life in America, where opportunities, real and fancied, are thicker than anywhere else on the globe, that the second generation has no time to talk to the first.”
James Baldwin Quote: “Other people cannot see what I see whenever I look into your father’s face, for behind your father’s face as it is today are all those other faces which were his.”
James Baldwin Quote: “The face of a lover is an unknown, precisely because it is invested with so much of oneself. It is a mystery, containing, like all mysteries, the possibility of torment.”
James Baldwin Quote: “Employment is my right my destiny.”
James Baldwin Quote: “I am speaking very seriously, and this is not an overstatement: I picked cotton, I carried it to the market, I built the railroads under someone else’s whip for nothing. For nothing!”
James Baldwin Quote: “You don’t know what’s happening on the other side of the wall, because you don’t want to know.”
James Baldwin Quote: “From my own point of view, the fact of the Third Reich alone makes obsolete forever any question of Christian superiority, except in technological terms. White people were, and are, astounded by the holocaust in Germany. They did not know that they could act that way. But I very much doubt whether black people were astounded – at least, in the same way.”
James Baldwin Quote: “I began plotting novels at about the time I learned to read. The story of my childhood is the usual bleak fantasy, and we can dismiss it with the restrained observation that I certainly would not consider living it again.”
James Baldwin Quote: “Furthermore, it is now absolutely clear that white people are a minority in the world – so severe a minority that they now look rather more like an invention – and that they cannot possibly hope to rule it any longer. If this is so, why is it not also possible that they achieved their original dominance by stealth and cunning and bloodshed and in opposition to the will of Heaven, and not, as they claim, by Heaven’s will?”
James Baldwin Quote: “You never had to look at me. I had to look at you. I know more about you than you know about me. Not everything that is faced can be changed; but nothing can be changed until it is faced.”
James Baldwin Quote: “The making of an American begins at the point where he himself rejects all other ties, any other history, and himself adopts the vesture of his adopted land.”
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