August 2, 1924 - December 1, 1987


66 Greatest Quotes By James Baldwin

A child cannot, thank Heaven, know how vast and how merciless is the nature of power, with what unbelievable cruelty people treat each other. James Baldwin
Whoever debases others is debasing himself. James Baldwin
The paradox of education is precisely this - that as one begins to become conscious one begins to examine the society in which he is being educated. James Baldwin
Education is indoctrination if you're white - subjugation if you're black. James Baldwin
To be a Negro in this country and to be relatively conscious is to be in a rage almost all the time. James Baldwin
I thought she would be fun to have fun with. James Baldwin
We can disagree and still love each other unless your disagreement is rooted in my oppression and denial of my humanity and right to exist. James Baldwin
No one can possibly know what is about to happen: it is happening, each time, for the first time, for the only time. James Baldwin
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. James Baldwin
Freedom is not something that anybody can be given. Freedom is something people take, and people are as free as they want to be. James Baldwin
The hope of the world lies in what one demands, not of others, but of oneself. James Baldwin
To act is to be committed, and to be committed is to be in danger. James Baldwin
People can cry much easier than they can change. James Baldwin
And here I was, left with only myself to deal with. It was entirely up to me. James Baldwin
I've always believed that you can think positive just as well as you can think negative. James Baldwin
People are trapped in history and history is trapped in them. James Baldwin
Hatred, which could destroy so much, never failed to destroy the man who hated, and this was an immutable law. James Baldwin
I am what time, circumstance, history, have made of me, certainly, but I am also, much more than that. So are we all. James Baldwin
No one is more dangerous than he who imagines himself pure in heart: for his purity, by definition, is unassailable. James Baldwin
The artistic image is not intended to represent the thing itself, but, rather, the reality of the force the thing contains. James Baldwin
When one begins to live by habit and by quotation, one has begun to stop living. James Baldwin
Love does not begin and end the way we seem to think it does. Love is a battle, love is a war; love is a growing up. James Baldwin
An identity would seem to be arrived at by the way in which the person faces and uses his experience. James Baldwin
But I felt that it was my heart which was broken. Something had broken in me to make me so cold and so perfectly still and far away. James Baldwin
The American ideal, after all, is that everyone should be as much alike as possible. James Baldwin
The dream of safety dies hard. James Baldwin
Not everything that is faced can be changed. But nothing can be changed until it is faced. James Baldwin
The power of the white world is threatened whenever a black man refuses to accept the white world's definitions. James Baldwin
This is the only real concern of the artist, to recreate out of the disorder of life that order which is art. James Baldwin
Colour is not a human or a personal reality; it is a political reality. James Baldwin
Love takes off masks that we fear we cannot live without and know we cannot live within. James Baldwin
The most dangerous creation of any society is the man who has nothing to lose. James Baldwin
American history is longer, larger, more various, more beautiful, and more terrible than anything anyone has ever said about it. James Baldwin
We go down the hall again, thank heaven, to my drink. James Baldwin
The responsibility of a writer is to excavate the experience of the people who produced him. James Baldwin
But the Irish became white when they got here and began rising in the world, whereas I became black and began sinking. James Baldwin
There is never time in the future in which we will work out our salvation. The challenge is in the moment; the time is always now. James Baldwin
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. James Baldwin
It is said that [Shakespeare's] time was easier than ours, but I doubt it—no time can be easy if one is living through it. James Baldwin
She fitted in my arms, she always had, and the shock of holding her caused me to feel that my arms had been empty since she had been away. James Baldwin
The Americans have no sense of doom, none whatever. They do not recognize doom when they see it. James Baldwin
Be careful what you set your heart upon - for it will surely be yours. James Baldwin
Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them. James Baldwin
The future is like heaven, everyone exalts it, but no one wants to go there now. James Baldwin
It is certain, in any case, that ignorance, allied with power, is the most ferocious enemy justice can have. James Baldwin
Anyone who has ever struggled with poverty knows how extremely expensive it is to be poor. James Baldwin
Lord, that Hollywood train, forever coming round the bend! James Baldwin
Confusion is a luxury which only the very, very young can possibly afford and you are not that young anymore. James Baldwin
It is very nearly impossible to become an educated person in a country so distrustful of the independent mind. James Baldwin
I love America more than any other country in this world, and, exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually. James Baldwin
One must be careful not to take refuge in any delusion. James Baldwin
Those who say it can't be done are usually interrupted by others doing it. James Baldwin
The world is before you and you need not take it or leave it as it was when you came in. James Baldwin