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James Baldwin Quotes
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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: “My novel’s about Brooklyn.” “The tree? Or the kids or the murderers or the junkies?” Vivaldo swallowed. “All of them.” “That’s quite an assignment. And if you don’t mind my saying so, it sounds just a little bit old fashioned.” He put his hand before his mouth and burped. “Brooklyn’s been done. And done.”
James Baldwin Quote: “I must believe, I must believe, that the heavy grace of God, which has brought me to this point, is all that can carry me out of it.”
James Baldwin Quote: “Uncle Tom’s Cabin, then, is activated by what might be called a theological terror, the terror of damnation; and the spirit that breathes in this book, hot, self-righteous, fearful, is not different from that spirit of medieval times which sought to exorcize evil by burning witches; and is not different from that terror which activates a lynch mob.”
James Baldwin Quote: “Books taught me that things that tormented me the most were the very things that connected me to everyone who is alive and who had ever been alive.”
James Baldwin Quote: “Every society is really governed by hidden laws, by unspoken but profound assumptions on the part of the people, and ours is no exception.”
James Baldwin Quote: “The black man in our midst carried murder in his heart, he wanted vengeance. We carried murder too, we wanted peace.”
James Baldwin Quote: “For a woman,” she said, “I think a man is always a stranger. And there’s something awful about being at the mercy of a stranger.”
James Baldwin Quote: “We are very cruelly trapped between what we would like to be and what we actually are. And we cannot possibly become what we would like to be until we are willing to ask ourselves just why the lives we lead on this continent are mainly so empty, so tame, and so ugly.”
James Baldwin Quote: “The journey to the grave is already begun, the journey to corruption is, always, already, half over.”
James Baldwin Quote: “You go to white movies and, like everybody else, you fall in love with Joan Crawford, and you root for the Good Guys who are killing off the Indians. It comes as a great psychological collision when you realize all of these things are really metaphors for your oppression, and will lead into a kind of psychological warfare in which you may perish.”
James Baldwin Quote: “Somebody,” said Jacques, “your father or mine, should have told us that not many people have ever died of love. But multitudes have perished, and are perishing every hour – and in the oddest places! – for the lack of it.”
James Baldwin Quote: “Years ago, when he was around fourteen, he’d been all hipped on the idea of going to India. He read books about people sitting on rocks, naked, in all kinds of weather, but mostly bad, naturally, and walking barefoot through hot coals and arriving at wisdom. I used to say that it sounded to me as though they were getting away from wisdom as fast as they could. I think he sort of looked down on me for that.”
James Baldwin Quote: “She, who had descended with such joy and pain, had begun her upward climb – upward, with her baby, on the steep, steep side of the mountain.”
James Baldwin Quote: “The world should listen then, as I am listening now.”
James Baldwin Quote: “It is only because the world looks on his talent with such a frightening indifference that the artist is compelled to make his talent important.”
James Baldwin Quote: “There’s no way not to suffer. But you try all kinds of ways to keep from drowning in it.”
James Baldwin Quote: “Assimilation was frequently but another name for the very special brand of relations between human beings which had been imposed by colonialism. These relations demanded that the individual, torn from the context to which he owed his identity, should replace his habits of feeling, thinking, and acting by another set of habits which belonged to the strangers who dominated him.”
James Baldwin Quote: “The first love disappears, but never goes. That ache becomes reconciliation.”
James Baldwin Quote: “Freaks are called freaks and are treated as they are treated – in the main, abominably – because they are human beings who cause to echo, deep within us, our most profound terrors and desires.”
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: “I am certainly convinced that it is one of the greatest impulses of mankind to arrive at something higher than a natural state.”
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: “A man’s balance depends on the weight he carries between his legs.”
James Baldwin Quote: “He wanted to go home and lock his door and sleep. He was tired of the troubles of real people. He wanted to get back to the people he was inventing, whose troubles he could bear.”
James Baldwin Quote: “And here I was, left with only myself to deal with. It was entirely up to me.”
James Baldwin Quote: “We take our shape within and against that cage of reality bequeathed us at our birth.”
James Baldwin Quote: “Ages ago, in another city, on another bus, I sat so at the windows, looking outward, inventing for each flying face which trapped my brief attention some life, some destiny, in which I played a part. I was looking for some whisper, or promise, of my possible salvation. But it seemed to me that morning that my ancient self had been dreaming the most dangerous dream of all.”
James Baldwin Quote: “Everything now, we must assume, is in our hands; we have no right to assume otherwise.”
James Baldwin Quote: “The primary distinction of the artist is that he must actively cultivate that state which most men, necessarily, must avoid: the state of being alone.”
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: “We had our arms round each other. It was like holding in my hand some rare, exhausted, nearly doomed bird which I had miraculously happened to find.”
James Baldwin Quote: “The details and symbols of your life have been deliberately constructed to make you believe what white people say about you. 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 and fear.”
James Baldwin Quote: “I love America more than any other country in the world, and, exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually. I think all theories are suspect, that the finest principles may have to be modified, or may even be pulverized by the demands of life, and that one must find, therefore, one’s own moral center and move through the world hoping that this center will guide one aright.”
James Baldwin Quote: “A writer has to take all the risks of putting down what he sees.”
James Baldwin Quote: “There is no way of conveying to the corpse the reasons you have made him one – you have the corpse, and you are, thereafter, at themercy of a fact which missed the truth, which means that the corpse has you.”
James Baldwin Quote: “But what was the point, the purpose, of my salvation if it did not permit me to behave with love toward others, no matter how they behaved toward me? What others did was their responsibility, for which they would answer when the judgment trumpet sounded.”
James Baldwin Quote: “People love different people in different ways.”
James Baldwin Quote: “Love takes off the masks that we fear we cannot live without and know we cannot live within. I use the word “love” here not merely in the personal sense but as a state of being, or a state of grace – not in the infantile American sense of being made happy but in the tough and universal sense of quest and daring and growth.”
James Baldwin Quote: “You can not describe anything without betraying your point of view, your aspirations, your fears, your hopes. Everything.”
James Baldwin Quote: “Their singing caused him to believe in the presence of the Lord; indeed, it was no longer a question of belief, because they made that presence real.”
James Baldwin Quote: “The dead man mattered, the new life mattered; blackness and whiteness did not matter; to believe that they did was to acquiesce in one’s own destruction. Hatred, which could destroy so much, never failed to destroy the man who hated and this was an immutable law.”
James Baldwin Quote: “Let us say, then, that truth, as used here, is meant to imply a devotion to the human being, his freedom and fulfillment; freedom which cannot be legislated, fulfillment which cannot be charted.”
James Baldwin Quote: “But just as a society must have a scapegoat, so hatred must have a symbol.”
James Baldwin Quote: “They knew that no one heard, that bloodless people cannot be made to bleed. So they blew what everyone had heard before, they reassured everyone that nothing terrible was happening.”
James Baldwin Quote: “Out of this incredible brutality, we get the myth of the happy darky and Gone With the Wind. And the North Americans appear to believe these legends, which they have created and which absolutely nothing in reality corroborates, until today. And when these legends are attacked, as is happening now – all over a globe which has never been and never will be White – my countrymen become childishly vindictive and unutterably dangerous. The.”
James Baldwin Quote: “You face reality, not the lights. The lights go off as quickly as they come on.”
James Baldwin Quote: “And the reason for this ignorance is that a knowledge of the role these people played – and play – in American life would reveal more about America to Americans than Americans wish to know. The.”
James Baldwin Quote: “Confronted with the impossibility of remaining faithful to one’s beliefs, and the equal impossibility of becoming free of them, one can be driven to the most inhuman excesses.”
James Baldwin Quote: “In the United States, violence and heroism have been made synonymous except when it comes to blacks, and.”
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