James A. Baldwin Famous Quotes & Sayings

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Top 100 James A. Baldwin Quotes

#1. Experience, which destroys innocence, also leads one back to it. - Author: James A. Baldwin
James A. Baldwin Quotes #48415
#2. When human rights are abused on a grand scale, the broth of purity boils and feeds the rebellion of a new order. - Author: James A. Baldwin
James A. Baldwin Quotes #69257
#3. Negro servants have been smuggling odds and ends out of white homes for generations, and white people have been delighted to have them do it, because it has assuaged a dim guilt and testified to the intrinsic superiority of white people. - Author: James A. Baldwin
James A. Baldwin Quotes #150133
#4. Talent is insignificant. I know a lot of talented ruins. Beyond talent lie all the usual words: discipline, love, luck, but, most of all, endurance. - Author: James A. Baldwin
James A. Baldwin Quotes #162752
#5. 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. - Author: James A. Baldwin
James A. Baldwin Quotes #185022
#6. The establishment of democracy on the American continent was scarcely as radical a break with the past as was the necessity, which Americans faced, of broadening this concept to include black men. - Author: James A. Baldwin
James A. Baldwin Quotes #186857
#7. Drive to the heart of every answer and expose the question the answer hides. - Author: James A. Baldwin
James A. Baldwin Quotes #204963
#8. If the relationship of father to son could really be reduced to biology, the whole earth would blaze with the glory of fathers and sons. - Author: James A. Baldwin
James A. Baldwin Quotes #263848
#9. If we do not now dare everything, the fulfillment of that prophecy, re-created from the Bible in song by a slave, is upon us: God gave Noah the rainbow sign. No more water, fire next time. - Author: James A. Baldwin
James A. Baldwin Quotes #345679
#10. An identity is questioned only when it is menaced, as when the mighty begin to fall, or when the wretched begin to rise, or when the stranger enters the gates, never, thereafter, to be a stranger. - Author: James A. Baldwin
James A. Baldwin Quotes #349659
#11. In order to have a conversation with someone you must reveal yourself. - Author: James A. Baldwin
James A. Baldwin Quotes #350343
#12. I think white gay people feel cheated because they were born, in principle, in a society in which they were supposed to be safe. The anomaly of their sexuality puts them in danger, unexpectedly. - Author: James A. Baldwin
James A. Baldwin Quotes #360955
#13. If all you want to do is make money, the very last thing you need is imagination. - Author: James A. Baldwin
James A. Baldwin Quotes #379748
#14. The purpose of education ... is to create in a person the ability to look at the world for himself, to make his own decisions. - Author: James A. Baldwin
James A. Baldwin Quotes #436306
#15. Christianity has operated with an unmitigated arrogance and cruelty - necessarily, since a religion ordinarily imposes on those who have discovered the true faith the spiritual duty of liberating the infidels. - Author: James A. Baldwin
James A. Baldwin Quotes #439026
#16. Every legend, moreover, contains its residuum of truth, and the root function of language is to control the universe by describing it. - Author: James A. Baldwin
James A. Baldwin Quotes #444626
#17. The only thing that white people have that black people need, or should want, is power-and no one holds power forever. - Author: James A. Baldwin
James A. Baldwin Quotes #449130
#18. Pessimists are the people who have no hope for themselves or for others. Pessimists are also people who think the human race is beneath their notice, that they're better than other human beings. - Author: James A. Baldwin
James A. Baldwin Quotes #470575
#19. The noblest spirit is most strongly attracted by the love of glory. - Author: James A. Baldwin
James A. Baldwin Quotes #478788
#20. America sometimes resembles, at least from the point of view of a black man, an exceedingly monotonous minstrel show; the same dances, same music, same jokes. One has done (or been) the show so long that one can do it in one's own sleep. - Author: James A. Baldwin
James A. Baldwin Quotes #514589
#21. 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. - Author: James A. Baldwin
James A. Baldwin Quotes #516426
#22. Great art can only be created out of love. - Author: James A. Baldwin
James A. Baldwin Quotes #546091
#23. The real victim of bigotry is the white man who hides his weakness under his myth of superiority. - Author: James A. Baldwin
James A. Baldwin Quotes #601163
#24. If you are going to be a writer there is nothing I can say to stop you; if you're not going to be a writer nothing I can say will help you. What you really need at the beginning is somebody to let you know that the effort is real. - Author: James A. Baldwin
James A. Baldwin Quotes #618332
#25. 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 - Author: James A. Baldwin
James A. Baldwin Quotes #656700
#26. I met a lot of people in Europe. I even encountered myself. - Author: James A. Baldwin
James A. Baldwin Quotes #661291
#27. All racists are irresponsible. - Author: James A. Baldwin
James A. Baldwin Quotes #665686
#28. You've got to tell the world how to treat you. If the world tells you how you are going to be treated, you are in trouble. - Author: James A. Baldwin
James A. Baldwin Quotes #678036
#29. To act is to be committed, and to be committed is to be in danger. - Author: James A. Baldwin
James A. Baldwin Quotes #692550
#30. Recognizing a problem doesn't always bring a solution, but until we recognize that problem, there can be no solution. - Author: James A. Baldwin
James A. Baldwin Quotes #692900
#31. To defend oneself against a fear is simply to insure that one will, one day, be conquered by it; fears must be faced. - Author: James A. Baldwin
James A. Baldwin Quotes #707618
#32. To ask questions of the universe, and then learn to live with those questions, is the way he achieves his own identity. - Author: James A. Baldwin
James A. Baldwin Quotes #762825
#33. I am aware that no man is a villain in his own eyes. - Author: James A. Baldwin
James A. Baldwin Quotes #766800
#34. The questions which one asks oneself begin, at least, to illuminate the world, and become one's key to the experience of others. - Author: James A. Baldwin
James A. Baldwin Quotes #774948
#35. The future is like heaven, everyone exalts it, but no one wants to go there now. - Author: James A. Baldwin
James A. Baldwin Quotes #790581
#36. The determination to outwit one's situation means that one has no models, only object lessons. - Author: James A. Baldwin
James A. Baldwin Quotes #803955
#37. 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 - Author: James A. Baldwin
James A. Baldwin Quotes #816945
#38. I can't be a pessimist, because I am alive. - Author: James A. Baldwin
James A. Baldwin Quotes #827838
#39. There exists among the intolerable degraded, the perverse and powerful desire to force into the arena of the actual those fantastic crimes of which they have been accused, achieving their vengeance and their own destruction through making the nightmare real. - Author: James A. Baldwin
James A. Baldwin Quotes #851887
#40. We are responsible for the world in which we find ourselves, if only because we are the only sentient force which can change it. - Author: James A. Baldwin
James A. Baldwin Quotes #886916
#41. Fires can't be made with dead embers, nor can enthusiasm be stirred by spiritless men. Enthusiasm in our daily work lightens effort and turns even labor into pleasant tasks. - Author: James A. Baldwin
James A. Baldwin Quotes #888437
#42. You go into a book and you're in the dark, really. You go in with a certain fear and trembling. You know one thing. You know you will not be the same person when this voyage is over. But you don't know what's going to happen to you between getting on the boat and stepping off. - Author: James A. Baldwin
James A. Baldwin Quotes #893510
#43. People who treat other people as less than human must not be surprised when the bread they have cast on the waters comes floating back to them, poisoned. - Author: James A. Baldwin
James A. Baldwin Quotes #896101
#44. Every human being is an unprecedented miracle. - Author: James A. Baldwin
James A. Baldwin Quotes #898747
#45. Rage cannot be hidden, it can only be dissembled. This dissembling deludes the thoughtless, and strengthens rage and adds, to rage, contempt. - Author: James A. Baldwin
James A. Baldwin Quotes #909849
#46. All of Africa will be free before we can get a lousy cup of coffee. - Author: James A. Baldwin
James A. Baldwin Quotes #925216
#47. You cannot fix what you will not face. - Author: James A. Baldwin
James A. Baldwin Quotes #934059
#48. One writes out of one thing only-one's own experience, - Author: James A. Baldwin
James A. Baldwin Quotes #948929
#49. A society must assume that it is stable, but the artist must know, and he must let us know, that there is nothing stable under heaven. - Author: James A. Baldwin
James A. Baldwin Quotes #954206
#50. Whatever white people do not know about Negroes reveals, precisely and inexorably, what they do not know about themselves. - Author: James A. Baldwin
James A. Baldwin Quotes #958151
#51. Experience is a private, very largely speechless affair. - Author: James A. Baldwin
James A. Baldwin Quotes #976082
#52. The white man discovered the Cross by way of the Bible, but the black man discovered the Bible by way of the Cross. - Author: James A. Baldwin
James A. Baldwin Quotes #999531
#53. If one cannot risk oneself, then one is simply incapable of giving. And, after all, one can give freedom only be setting someone free. - Author: James A. Baldwin
James A. Baldwin Quotes #1013744
#54. A liberal: someone who thinks he knows more about your experience than you do. - Author: James A. Baldwin
James A. Baldwin Quotes #1019490
#55. Such figures as Boy George do not disturb me nearly so much as do those relentlessly hetero (sexual?) keepers of the keys and seals, those who know what the world needs in the way of order and who are ready and willing to supply that order. - Author: James A. Baldwin
James A. Baldwin Quotes #1024910
#56. 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. - Author: James A. Baldwin
James A. Baldwin Quotes #1032323
#57. When you're writing, you're trying to find out something which you don't know. The whole language of writing for me is finding out what you don't want to know, what you don't want to find out. But something forces you to anyway. - Author: James A. Baldwin
James A. Baldwin Quotes #1041043
#58. The betrayal of a belief is not the same thing as ceasing to believe. If this were not so there would be no moral standards in the world at all. - Author: James A. Baldwin
James A. Baldwin Quotes #1042603
#59. I think that the inability to love is the central problem, because that inability masks a certain terror, and that terror is the terror of being touched. And if you can't be touched, you can't be changed. And if you can't be changed, you can't be alive. - Author: James A. Baldwin
James A. Baldwin Quotes #1098274
#60. And love will simply have no choice but to go into battle with space and time, and furthermore, to win. - Author: James A. Baldwin
James A. Baldwin Quotes #1100203
#61. James Joyce is right about history being a nightmare
but it may be that nightmare from which no one can awaken. People are trapped in history and history in trapped in them. - Author: James A. Baldwin
James A. Baldwin Quotes #1104941
#62. One cannot deny the humanity of another without diminishing one's own. - Author: James A. Baldwin
James A. Baldwin Quotes #1128513
#63. The American idea of racial progress is measured by how fast I become white. - Author: James A. Baldwin
James A. Baldwin Quotes #1196823
#64. Life is more important than art; that's what makes art important. - Author: James A. Baldwin
James A. Baldwin Quotes #1197718
#65. At four o'clock in the morning, when everyone is drunk enough, then extraordinary things can happen. - Author: James A. Baldwin
James A. Baldwin Quotes #1240368
#66. One can only face in others what one can face in oneself. - Author: James A. Baldwin
James A. Baldwin Quotes #1266220
#67. I will no longer take anyone's word for my experience. - Author: James A. Baldwin
James A. Baldwin Quotes #1276658
#68. 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. - Author: James A. Baldwin
James A. Baldwin Quotes #1283108
#69. If you think too far ahead, if you even try to think too far ahead, you'll never make it. - Author: James A. Baldwin
James A. Baldwin Quotes #1283854
#70. Be careful what you set your heart upon - for it will surely be yours. - Author: James A. Baldwin
James A. Baldwin Quotes #1284686
#71. An American Negro, however deep his sympathies, or however bright his rage, ceases to be simply a black man when he faces a black man from Africa. - Author: James A. Baldwin
James A. Baldwin Quotes #1291283
#72. When one begins to live by habit and by quotation, one has begun to stop living. - Author: James A. Baldwin
James A. Baldwin Quotes #1316351
#73. In the invincible and indescribable squalor of Harlem ... I was tormented. I felt caged, like an animal. I wanted to escape. I felt if I did not get out I would slowly strangle. - Author: James A. Baldwin
James A. Baldwin Quotes #1323594
#74. To be with God is really to be involved in some enormous, overwhelming desire, and joy, and power which you cannot control, which controls you. - Author: James A. Baldwin
James A. Baldwin Quotes #1372393
#75. When Americans look out on the world, they see nothing but dark and menacing strangers who appear to have no sense of rhythm at all, nor any respect or affection for white people; and white Americans really do not know what to make of all this, except to increase the defense budget. - Author: James A. Baldwin
James A. Baldwin Quotes #1398634
#76. I think Americans are terrified of feeling anything. I never met a people more infantile in my life. - Author: James A. Baldwin
James A. Baldwin Quotes #1431289
#77. Being in the pulpit, was like being in the theatre; I was behind the scenes and knew how the illusion worked. - Author: James A. Baldwin
James A. Baldwin Quotes #1441600
#78. 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. - Author: James A. Baldwin
James A. Baldwin Quotes #1443009
#79. I really do believe in the New Jerusalem. I really do believe that we can all become better than we are. I know we can. But the price is enormous and people are not yet willing to pay it. - Author: James A. Baldwin
James A. Baldwin Quotes #1450348
#80. Employment is my right my destiny. - Author: James A. Baldwin
James A. Baldwin Quotes #1454600
#81. It is a terrible, an inexorable law that one cannot deny the humanity of another without diminishing one's own: in the face of one's victim, one sees oneself. - Author: James A. Baldwin
James A. Baldwin Quotes #1478268
#82. There was no room in God's army for the coward heart, no crown awaiting him who put mother or father, sister or brother, sweetheart or friend above God's will. Let the church cry amen to this! - Author: James A. Baldwin
James A. Baldwin Quotes #1487248
#83. You have to decide who you are and force the world to deal with you, not with its idea of you. - Author: James A. Baldwin
James A. Baldwin Quotes #1511598
#84. 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. - Author: James A. Baldwin
James A. Baldwin Quotes #1526844
#85. I've always believed that you can think positive just as well as you can think negative. - Author: James A. Baldwin
James A. Baldwin Quotes #1575302
#86. Women manage, quite brilliantly, on the whole, and to stunning and unforeseeable effect, to survive and surmount being defined by others. They dismiss the definition, however dangerous or wounding it may be
or even, sometimes, find a way to utilize it. - Author: James A. Baldwin
James A. Baldwin Quotes #1592367
#87. 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. - Author: James A. Baldwin
James A. Baldwin Quotes #1596330
#88. I started reading. I read everything I could get my hands on ... By the time I was thirteen I had read myself out of Harlem. I had read every book in two libraries and had a card for the Forty-Second Street branch. - Author: James A. Baldwin
James A. Baldwin Quotes #1630040
#89. It is hard for anyone under twenty to realise that death has already assigned them a number, which is going to come up one day. - Author: James A. Baldwin
James A. Baldwin Quotes #1636334
#90. Then I buckled up my shoes, and I started. - Author: James A. Baldwin
James A. Baldwin Quotes #1657254
#91. 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. - Author: James A. Baldwin
James A. Baldwin Quotes #1665642
#92. A man's balance depends on the weight he carries between his legs. - Author: James A. Baldwin
James A. Baldwin Quotes #1668480
#93. Americans, unhappily, have the most remarkable ability to alchemize all bitter truths into an innocuous but piquant confection and to transform their moral contradictions, or public discussion of such contradictions, into a proud decoration, such as are given for heroism on the battle field. - Author: James A. Baldwin
James A. Baldwin Quotes #1713452
#94. Everything in life depends on how that life accepts its limits. - Author: James A. Baldwin
James A. Baldwin Quotes #1713654
#95. The trick is to love somebody ... If you love one person, you see everybody else differently. - Author: James A. Baldwin
James A. Baldwin Quotes #1719796
#96. It is a very grave matter to be forced to imitate a people for whom you know-which is the price of your performance and survival-you do not exist. It is hard to imitate a people whose existence appears, mainly, to be made tolerable by their bottomless gratitude that they are not, thank heaven, you. - Author: James A. Baldwin
James A. Baldwin Quotes #1755324
#97. Love him and let him love you. Do you think anything else under heaven really matters? - Author: James A. Baldwin
James A. Baldwin Quotes #1777265
#98. She was twenty and had come to realize that, though she had a voice, she wasn't a singer; that to endure and embrace the life of a singer demands a whole lot more than a voice. - Author: James A. Baldwin
James A. Baldwin Quotes #1802650
#99. A ghetto can be improved in one way only: out of existence. - Author: James A. Baldwin
James A. Baldwin Quotes #1834903
#100. I'm beginning to think that maybe everything that happens makes sense. Like, if it didn't make sense, how could it happen? - Author: James A. Baldwin
James A. Baldwin Quotes #1845940

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