photo of James BaldwinPhoto Credit: WikiMedia Commons

Quotes by James Baldwin

Welcome to our collection of quotes (with shareable picture quotes) by James Baldwin. We hope you enjoy pondering them and that you will share them widely.

Wikipedia Summary for James Baldwin

James Arthur Baldwin (August 2, 1924 – December 1, 1987) was an American novelist, playwright, essayist, poet, and activist. His essays, collected in Notes of a Native Son (1955), explore intricacies of racial, sexual, and class distinctions in the Western society of the United States during the mid twentieth-century. Some of Baldwin's essays are book-length, including The Fire Next Time (1963), No Name in the Street (1972), and The Devil Finds Work (1976). An unfinished manuscript, Remember This House, was expanded and adapted for cinema as the Academy Award–nominated documentary film I Am Not Your Negro (2016). One of his novels, If Beale Street Could Talk, was adapted into the Academy Award-winning film of the same name in 2018, directed and produced by Barry Jenkins.

Baldwin's novels, short stories, and plays fictionalize fundamental personal questions and dilemmas amid complex social and psychological pressures. Themes of masculinity, sexuality, race, and class intertwine to create intricate narratives that run parallel with some of the major political movements toward social change in mid-twentieth-century America, such as the civil rights movement and the gay liberation movement. Baldwin's protagonists are often but not exclusively African American, and gay and bisexual men frequently feature as protagonists in his literature. These characters often face internal and external obstacles in their search for social- and self-acceptance. Such dynamics are prominent in Baldwin's second novel, Giovanni's Room, which was written in 1956, well before the gay liberation movement.

Quote: Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced. by author James Baldwin overlaid on photo of brown leaf tree facing the lake
Photo Credit: Aaron Burden

Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.


Quote: Identity would seem to be the garment with which one covers the nakedness of the self, in which case, it is best that the garment be loose, a little like the robes of the desert, through which one's nakedness can always be felt, and sometimes, discerned. by author James Baldwin overlaid on photo of photo of author James Baldwin with quote

Identity would seem to be the garment with which one covers the nakedness of the self, in which case, it is best that the garment be loose, a little like the robes of the desert, through which one's nakedness can always be felt, and sometimes, discerned.


Quote: A liberal: someone who thinks he knows more about your experience than you do. by author James Baldwin overlaid on photo of photo of author James Baldwin with quote

A liberal: someone who thinks he knows more about your experience than you do.


Quote: No one in the city, except your immediate family -- not always they-- says good morning. by author James Baldwin overlaid on photo of photo of author James Baldwin with quote

No one in the city, except your immediate family -- not always they-- says good morning.


Quote: Words like freedom, justice, democracy are not common concepts; on the contrary, they are rare. People are not born knowing what these are. It takes enormous and, above all, individual effort to arrive at the respect for other people that these words imply. by author James Baldwin overlaid on photo of photo of author James Baldwin with quote

Words like freedom, justice, democracy are not common concepts; on the contrary, they are rare. People are not born knowing what these are. It takes enormous and, above all, individual effort to arrive at the respect for other people that these words imply.


Quote: Confusion is a luxury which only the very, very young can possibly afford and you are not that young anymore. by author James Baldwin overlaid on photo of photo of author James Baldwin with quote

Confusion is a luxury which only the very, very young can possibly afford and you are not that young anymore.


Quote: Everybody's journey is individual. You you fall in love with a boy, you fall in love with a boy. The fact that many Americans consider it a disease says more about them than it does about homosexuality. by author James Baldwin overlaid on photo of photo of author James Baldwin with quote

Everybody's journey is individual. You you fall in love with a boy, you fall in love with a boy. The fact that many Americans consider it a disease says more about them than it does about homosexuality.


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. by author James Baldwin overlaid on photo of photo of author James Baldwin with 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.

Longer Version/[Notes]:

I can't be a pessimist because I am alive. To be a pessimist means that you have agreed that human life is an academic matter. So, I am forced to be an optimist. I am forced to believe that we can survive, whatever we must survive.


Quote: I imagine that one of the reasons that people cling to their hate and prejudice so stubbornly, is that they sense that once hate is gone, they will be forced to deal with their own pain. by author James Baldwin overlaid on photo of photo of author James Baldwin with quote

I imagine that one of the reasons that people cling to their hate and prejudice so stubbornly, is that they sense that once hate is gone, they will be forced to deal with their own pain.


Quote: This is the only real concern of the artist, to recreate out of the disorder of life that order which is art. by author James Baldwin overlaid on photo of photo of author James Baldwin with quote

This is the only real concern of the artist, to recreate out of the disorder of life that order which is art.


Quote: One must be careful not to take refuge in any delusion. by author James Baldwin overlaid on photo of photo of author James Baldwin with quote

One must be careful not to take refuge in any delusion.


Quote: 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. by author James Baldwin overlaid on photo of James Baldwin quote: 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.- black text on quotes background

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.


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. by author James Baldwin overlaid on photo of photo of author James Baldwin with 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.


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. by author James Baldwin overlaid on photo of photo of author James Baldwin with 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.


Quote: We go down the hall again, thank heaven, to my drink. by author James Baldwin overlaid on photo of photo of author James Baldwin with quote

We go down the hall again, thank heaven, to my drink.


Quote: Nobody can stay in the Garden of Eden. by author James Baldwin overlaid on photo of photo of author James Baldwin with quote

Nobody can stay in the Garden of Eden.


Quote: The mind is like an object that picks up dust. The object doesn't know, any more than the mind does, why what clings to it clings. by author James Baldwin overlaid on photo of photo of author James Baldwin with quote

The mind is like an object that picks up dust. The object doesn't know, any more than the mind does, why what clings to it clings.


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. by author James Baldwin overlaid on photo of James Baldwin quote; white text on black background

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.


Quote: I moved, looking for a cigarette. They were in my hand. I lit one. In a moment, I thought, I will say something. I will say something and then I will walk out of this room forever. by author James Baldwin overlaid on photo of photo of author James Baldwin with quote

I moved, looking for a cigarette. They were in my hand. I lit one. In a moment, I thought, I will say something. I will say something and then I will walk out of this room forever.


Quote: If the hope of giving
is to love the living,
the giver risks madness
in the act of giving. by author James Baldwin overlaid on photo of photo of author James Baldwin with quote

If the hope of giving
is to love the living,
the giver risks madness
in the act of giving.


Quote: That was how I met her, in a bar in Saint-Germain-des-Prés, she was drinking and watching, and that was why I liked her, I thought she would be fun to have fun with. by author James Baldwin overlaid on photo of photo of author James Baldwin with quote

That was how I met her, in a bar in Saint-Germain-des-Prés, she was drinking and watching, and that was why I liked her, I thought she would be fun to have fun with.


Quote: The power to define the other seals one's definition of oneself. by author James Baldwin overlaid on photo of photo of author James Baldwin with quote

The power to define the other seals one's definition of oneself.


Quote: The hope of the world lies in what one demands, not of others, but of oneself. by author James Baldwin overlaid on photo of photo of author James Baldwin with quote

The hope of the world lies in what one demands, not of others, but of oneself.


Quote: Goddammit to hell, I'm sick of it. Can't I get a place to sleep without dragging it through the courts? I'm goddamn tired of battling every Tom, Dick, and Harry for what everyone else takes for granted. I'm tired! by author James Baldwin overlaid on photo of photo of author James Baldwin with quote

Goddammit to hell, I'm sick of it. Can't I get a place to sleep without dragging it through the courts? I'm goddamn tired of battling every Tom, Dick, and Harry for what everyone else takes for granted. I'm tired!


Quote: It's not really a mystery except it's always a mystery about people. by author James Baldwin overlaid on photo of photo of author James Baldwin with quote

It's not really a mystery except it's always a mystery about people.


Quote: Nakedness has no color: this can come as news only to those who have never covered, or been covered by, another naked human being. by author James Baldwin overlaid on photo of photo of author James Baldwin with quote

Nakedness has no color: this can come as news only to those who have never covered, or been covered by, another naked human being.


Quote: No one is more dangerous than he who imagines himself pure in heart: for his purity, by definition, is unassailable. by author James Baldwin overlaid on photo of photo of author James Baldwin with quote

No one is more dangerous than he who imagines himself pure in heart: for his purity, by definition, is unassailable.


Quote: A child cannot be taught by anyone who despises him, and a child cannot afford to be fooled. A child cannot be taught by anyone whose demand, essentially, is that the child repudiate his experience, and all that gives him sustenance. by author James Baldwin overlaid on photo of photo of author James Baldwin with quote

A child cannot be taught by anyone who despises him, and a child cannot afford to be fooled. A child cannot be taught by anyone whose demand, essentially, is that the child repudiate his experience, and all that gives him sustenance.


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. by author James Baldwin overlaid on photo of photo of author James Baldwin with 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.


Quote: He sat in an armchair, overlooking a foreign sea, still struggling to find the grace which would allow him to bear that revelation. For the meaning of revelation is that what is revealed is true, and must be borne. by author James Baldwin overlaid on photo of photo of author James Baldwin with quote

He sat in an armchair, overlooking a foreign sea, still struggling to find the grace which would allow him to bear that revelation. For the meaning of revelation is that what is revealed is true, and must be borne.


Quote: To smash something is the ghetto's chronic need. Most of the time it is the members of the ghetto who smash each other, and themselves. But as long as the ghetto walls are standing there will always come a moment when these outlets do not work. by author James Baldwin overlaid on photo of photo of author James Baldwin with quote

To smash something is the ghetto's chronic need. Most of the time it is the members of the ghetto who smash each other, and themselves. But as long as the ghetto walls are standing there will always come a moment when these outlets do not work.




Quote: There is nothing more boring, anyway, than sexual activity as an end in itself, and a great many people who came out of the closet should reconsider. by author James Baldwin overlaid on photo of photo of author James Baldwin with quote

There is nothing more boring, anyway, than sexual activity as an end in itself, and a great many people who came out of the closet should reconsider.


Quote: A mob is not autonomous: it executes the real will of the people who rule the State. The slaughter in Birmingham, Alabama, for example, was not merely the action of a mob. by author James Baldwin overlaid on photo of photo of author James Baldwin with quote

A mob is not autonomous: it executes the real will of the people who rule the State. The slaughter in Birmingham, Alabama, for example, was not merely the action of a mob.


Quote: I sometimes think, with despair, that Americans will swallow whole any political speech whatever--we've been doing very little else, these last, bad years. by author James Baldwin overlaid on photo of photo of author James Baldwin with quote

I sometimes think, with despair, that Americans will swallow whole any political speech whatever--we've been doing very little else, these last, bad years.


Quote: The real troubles with living is that living is so banal. by author James Baldwin overlaid on photo of photo of author James Baldwin with quote

The real troubles with living is that living is so banal.


Quote: Because I was raised in a Christian culture I never considered myself to be a totally free human being. by author James Baldwin overlaid on photo of photo of author James Baldwin with quote

Because I was raised in a Christian culture I never considered myself to be a totally free human being.


Quote: It is one thing to overthrow a dictator or to repel and invader and quite another thing really to achieve a revolution. by author James Baldwin overlaid on photo of photo of author James Baldwin with quote

It is one thing to overthrow a dictator or to repel and invader and quite another thing really to achieve a revolution.


Quote: It's funny about people. Just before something happens, you almost know what it is. You do know what it is, I believe. You just haven't had the time--and now you won't have the time--to say it to yourself. by author James Baldwin overlaid on photo of photo of author James Baldwin with quote

It's funny about people. Just before something happens, you almost know what it is. You do know what it is, I believe. You just haven't had the time--and now you won't have the time--to say it to yourself.


Quote: In any event, the sloppy and fatuous nature of American good will can never be relied upon to deal with hard problems. These have been dealt with, when they have been dealt with at all, out of necessity--and in political terms, anyway, necessity means concessions made in order to stay on top. by author James Baldwin overlaid on photo of James Baldwin quote: In any event, the sloppy and fatuous nature of American good will can never be relied upon to deal with hard problems. These have been dealt with, when they have been dealt with at all, out of necessity--and in political terms, anyway, necessity means concessions made in order to stay on top.- black text on quotes background

In any event, the sloppy and fatuous nature of American good will can never be relied upon to deal with hard problems. These have been dealt with, when they have been dealt with at all, out of necessity--and in political terms, anyway, necessity means concessions made in order to stay on top.


Quote: For nothing is fixed, forever and forever and forever, it is not fixed; the earth is always shifting, the light is always changing, the sea does not cease to grind down rock. Generations do not cease to be born, and we are responsible to them because we are the only witnesses they have. by author James Baldwin overlaid on photo of James Baldwin quote: For nothing is fixed, forever and forever and forever, it is not fixed; the earth is always shifting, the light is always changing, the sea does not cease to grind down rock. Generations do not cease to be born, and we are responsible to them because we are the only witnesses they have.- black text on quotes background

For nothing is fixed, forever and forever and forever, it is not fixed; the earth is always shifting, the light is always changing, the sea does not cease to grind down rock. Generations do not cease to be born, and we are responsible to them because we are the only witnesses they have.

Longer Version/[Notes]:

For nothing is fixed, forever and forever and forever, it is not fixed; the earth is always shifting, the light is always changing, the sea does not cease to grind down rock. Generations do not cease to be born, and we are responsible to them because we are the only witnesses they have. The sea rises, the light fails, lovers cling to each other, and children cling to us. The moment we cease to hold each other, the sea engulfs us and the light goes out.


Quote: People are too various to be treated so lightly. I am too various to be trusted. by author James Baldwin overlaid on photo of photo of author James Baldwin with quote

People are too various to be treated so lightly. I am too various to be trusted.


Quote: His touch could never fail to make me feel desire; yet his hot, sweet breath also made me want to vomit. by author James Baldwin overlaid on photo of photo of author James Baldwin with quote

His touch could never fail to make me feel desire; yet his hot, sweet breath also made me want to vomit.


Quote: Allegiance, after all, has to work two ways; and one can grow weary of an allegiance which is not reciprocal. by author James Baldwin overlaid on photo of photo of author James Baldwin with quote

Allegiance, after all, has to work two ways; and one can grow weary of an allegiance which is not reciprocal.


Quote: Elijah Muhammad himself has now been carrrying the same message for more than thirty years; he is not an overnight sensation, and we owe his ministry, I am told, to the fact that when he was a child of six or so, his father was lynched before his eyes. (So much for states' rights.). by author James Baldwin overlaid on photo of James Baldwin quote: Elijah Muhammad himself has now been carrrying the same message for more than thirty years; he is not an overnight sensation, and we owe his ministry, I am told, to the fact that when he was a child of six or so, his father was lynched before his eyes. (So much for states' rights.).- black text on quotes background

Elijah Muhammad himself has now been carrrying the same message for more than thirty years; he is not an overnight sensation, and we owe his ministry, I am told, to the fact that when he was a child of six or so, his father was lynched before his eyes. (So much for states' rights.).




Quote: 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. by author James Baldwin overlaid on photo of photo of author James Baldwin with quote

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.


Quote: The question is really a kind of apathy and ignorance, which is the price we pay for segregation. That's what segregation means. You don't know what's happening on the other side of the wall, because you don't want to know. by author James Baldwin overlaid on photo of photo of author James Baldwin with quote

The question is really a kind of apathy and ignorance, which is the price we pay for segregation. That's what segregation means. You don't know what's happening on the other side of the wall, because you don't want to know.


Quote: It is rare indeed that people give. Most people guard and keep; they suppose that it is they themselves and what they identify with themselves that they are guarding and keeping, whereas what they are actually guarding and keeping is their system of reality and what they assume themselves to be. by author James Baldwin overlaid on photo of James Baldwin quote: It is rare indeed that people give. Most people guard and keep; they suppose that it is they themselves and what they identify with themselves that they are guarding and keeping, whereas what they are actually guarding and keeping is their system of reality and what they assume themselves to be.- black text on quotes background

It is rare indeed that people give. Most people guard and keep; they suppose that it is they themselves and what they identify with themselves that they are guarding and keeping, whereas what they are actually guarding and keeping is their system of reality and what they assume themselves to be.


Quote: He wanted me to come home -- to come home, as he said, and settle down, and whenever he said that I thought of the sediment at the bottom of a stagnant pond. by author James Baldwin overlaid on photo of photo of author James Baldwin with quote

He wanted me to come home -- to come home, as he said, and settle down, and whenever he said that I thought of the sediment at the bottom of a stagnant pond.


Quote: Lord, that Hollywood train, forever coming round the bend! by author James Baldwin overlaid on photo of photo of author James Baldwin with quote

Lord, that Hollywood train, forever coming round the bend!




Quote: It is quite possible to say that the price a Negro pays for becoming articulate is to find himself, at length, with nothing to be articulate about. (You taught me language, says Caliban to Prospero, and my profit on't is I know how to curse.). by author James Baldwin overlaid on photo of photo of author James Baldwin with quote

It is quite possible to say that the price a Negro pays for becoming articulate is to find himself, at length, with nothing to be articulate about. (You taught me language, says Caliban to Prospero, and my profit on't is I know how to curse.).










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? by author James Baldwin overlaid on photo of photo of author James Baldwin with 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?


Quote: I am what time, circumstance, history, have made of me, certainly, but I am, also, much more than that. So are we all. by author James Baldwin overlaid on photo of photo of author James Baldwin with quote

I am what time, circumstance, history, have made of me, certainly, but I am, also, much more than that. So are we all.


Quote: The American ideal, after all, is that everyone should be as much alike as possible. by author James Baldwin overlaid on photo of photo of author James Baldwin with quote

The American ideal, after all, is that everyone should be as much alike as possible.


Quote: 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. by author James Baldwin overlaid on photo of photo of author James Baldwin with quote

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.


Quote: People who shut their eyes to reality simply invite their own destruction, and anyone who insists on remaining in a state on innocence long after that innocence is dead turns himself into a monster. by author James Baldwin overlaid on photo of photo of author James Baldwin with quote

People who shut their eyes to reality simply invite their own destruction, and anyone who insists on remaining in a state on innocence long after that innocence is dead turns himself into a monster.


Quote: You want to write a sentence as clean as a bone. That is the goal. by author James Baldwin overlaid on photo of photo of author James Baldwin with quote

You want to write a sentence as clean as a bone. That is the goal.


Quote: The place in which I'll fit will not exist until I make it. by author James Baldwin overlaid on photo of photo of author James Baldwin with quote

The place in which I'll fit will not exist until I make it.


Quote: Precisely at the point when you begin to develop a conscience you must find yourself at war with your society. by author James Baldwin overlaid on photo of photo of author James Baldwin with quote

Precisely at the point when you begin to develop a conscience you must find yourself at war with your society.


Quote: We do not trust educated people and rarely, alas, produce them, for we do not trust the independence of mind which alone makes a genuine education possible. by author James Baldwin overlaid on photo of photo of author James Baldwin with quote

We do not trust educated people and rarely, alas, produce them, for we do not trust the independence of mind which alone makes a genuine education possible.


Quote: Trust life, and it will teach you, in joy and sorrow, all you need to know. by author James Baldwin overlaid on photo of photo of author James Baldwin with quote

Trust life, and it will teach you, in joy and sorrow, all you need to know.


Quote: Writing is a political instrument. by author James Baldwin overlaid on photo of photo of author James Baldwin with quote

Writing is a political instrument.


Quote: The victim who is able to articulate the situation of the victim has ceased to be a victim: he or she has become a threat. by author James Baldwin overlaid on photo of photo of author James Baldwin with quote

The victim who is able to articulate the situation of the victim has ceased to be a victim: he or she has become a threat.


Quote: If I am not what you say I am, then you are not who you think you are. by author James Baldwin overlaid on photo of photo of author James Baldwin with quote

If I am not what you say I am, then you are not who you think you are.


Quote: The great force of history comes from the fact that we carry it within us, are unconsciously controlled by it in many ways, and history is literally present in all that we do. by author James Baldwin overlaid on photo of photo of author James Baldwin with quote

The great force of history comes from the fact that we carry it within us, are unconsciously controlled by it in many ways, and history is literally present in all that we do.


Quote: We are responsible for the world in which we find ourselves, if only because we are the only sentient force which can change it. by author James Baldwin overlaid on photo of photo of author James Baldwin with quote

We are responsible for the world in which we find ourselves, if only because we are the only sentient force which can change it.


Quote: 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. by author James Baldwin overlaid on photo of photo of author James Baldwin with quote

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.


Quote: A civilization is not destroyed by wicked people; it is not necessary that people be wicked but only that they be spineless. by author James Baldwin overlaid on photo of photo of author James Baldwin with quote

A civilization is not destroyed by wicked people; it is not necessary that people be wicked but only that they be spineless.


Quote: You have to decide who you are and force the world to deal with you, not with its idea of you. by author James Baldwin overlaid on photo of photo of author James Baldwin with quote

You have to decide who you are and force the world to deal with you, not with its idea of you.


Quote: The challenge is in the moment; the time is always now. by author James Baldwin overlaid on photo of photo of author James Baldwin with quote

The challenge is in the moment; the time is always now.


Quote: You have to go the way your blood beats. If you don't live the only life you have, you won't live some other life, you won't live any life at all. by author James Baldwin overlaid on photo of photo of author James Baldwin with quote

You have to go the way your blood beats. If you don't live the only life you have, you won't live some other life, you won't live any life at all.


Quote: The role of the artist is exactly the same as the role of the lover. If I love you, I have to make you conscious of the things you don't see. by author James Baldwin overlaid on photo of photo of author James Baldwin with quote

The role of the artist is exactly the same as the role of the lover. If I love you, I have to make you conscious of the things you don't see.


Quote: I must--to be honest--add that my ministry almost certainly helped me through my adolescence by giving me something larger than myself to be frightened about. by author James Baldwin overlaid on photo of photo of author James Baldwin with quote

I must--to be honest--add that my ministry almost certainly helped me through my adolescence by giving me something larger than myself to be frightened about.


Quote: One of these days, he said. Everything bad will happen -- one of these days. by author James Baldwin overlaid on photo of photo of author James Baldwin with quote

One of these days, he said. Everything bad will happen -- one of these days.


Quote: He was waiting, I think, for me to cross that space and take him in my arms again--waiting, as one waits at a deathbed for the miracle one dare not disbelieve, which will not happen. by author James Baldwin overlaid on photo of photo of author James Baldwin with quote

He was waiting, I think, for me to cross that space and take him in my arms again--waiting, as one waits at a deathbed for the miracle one dare not disbelieve, which will not happen.


Quote: He had been bruised, so to speak, so badly that the eyes of strangers lacerated him like salt. by author James Baldwin overlaid on photo of photo of author James Baldwin with quote

He had been bruised, so to speak, so badly that the eyes of strangers lacerated him like salt.


Quote: Maybe everything bad that happens to you makes you weaker, said Giovanni, as though he had not heard me, and so you can stand less and less. by author James Baldwin overlaid on photo of photo of author James Baldwin with quote

Maybe everything bad that happens to you makes you weaker, said Giovanni, as though he had not heard me, and so you can stand less and less.


Quote: Whereas Jesus and his disciples were distrusted by the state largely because they respected the poor and shared everything, the fundamentalists of the present hour would appear not to know that the poor exist. by author James Baldwin overlaid on photo of photo of author James Baldwin with quote

Whereas Jesus and his disciples were distrusted by the state largely because they respected the poor and shared everything, the fundamentalists of the present hour would appear not to know that the poor exist.


Quote: You can not describe anything without betraying your point of view, your aspirations, your fears, your hopes. Everything. by author James Baldwin overlaid on photo of photo of author James Baldwin with quote

You can not describe anything without betraying your point of view, your aspirations, your fears, your hopes. Everything.




Quote: Beneath these faces, these clothes, accents, rudeness, was power and sorrow, both unadmitted, unrealized, the power of inventors, the sorrow of the disconnected. by author James Baldwin overlaid on photo of photo of author James Baldwin with quote

Beneath these faces, these clothes, accents, rudeness, was power and sorrow, both unadmitted, unrealized, the power of inventors, the sorrow of the disconnected.




Quote: On each piece of paper I found addresses, telephone numbers, memos of various rendezvous made and kept--or perhaps not kept--people met and remembered, or perhaps not remembered, hopes probably not fulfilled: certainly not fulfilled, or I would not have been standing on that street corner. by author James Baldwin overlaid on photo of James Baldwin quote: On each piece of paper I found addresses, telephone numbers, memos of various rendezvous made and kept--or perhaps not kept--people met and remembered, or perhaps not remembered, hopes probably not fulfilled: certainly not fulfilled, or I would not have been standing on that street corner.- black text on quotes background

On each piece of paper I found addresses, telephone numbers, memos of various rendezvous made and kept--or perhaps not kept--people met and remembered, or perhaps not remembered, hopes probably not fulfilled: certainly not fulfilled, or I would not have been standing on that street corner.


Quote: Since we live in an age in which silence is not only criminal but suicidal, I have been making as much noise as I can, here in Europe, on radio and television--in fact, have just returned from a land, Germany, which was made notorious by a silent majority not so very long ago. by author James Baldwin overlaid on photo of James Baldwin quote; white text on black background

Since we live in an age in which silence is not only criminal but suicidal, I have been making as much noise as I can, here in Europe, on radio and television--in fact, have just returned from a land, Germany, which was made notorious by a silent majority not so very long ago.


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. by author James Baldwin overlaid on photo of photo of author James Baldwin with 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.


Quote: No curtain under heaven is heavier than that curtain of guilt and lies behind which white Americans hide. by author James Baldwin overlaid on photo of photo of author James Baldwin with quote

No curtain under heaven is heavier than that curtain of guilt and lies behind which white Americans hide.


Quote: Love brought you here. If you trusted love this far, don't panic now. by author James Baldwin overlaid on photo of photo of author James Baldwin with quote

Love brought you here. If you trusted love this far, don't panic now.


Quote: We live in a nation of pigs and murderers. by author James Baldwin overlaid on photo of photo of author James Baldwin with quote

We live in a nation of pigs and murderers.


Quote: Whoever debases others is debasing himself. by author James Baldwin overlaid on photo of photo of author James Baldwin with quote

Whoever debases others is debasing himself.


Quote: 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. by author James Baldwin overlaid on photo of photo of author James Baldwin with quote

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.


Quote: People are trapped in history and history is trapped in them. Civil Rights activist, author, and critic James Baldwin was born on#ThisDayinHistory 1924. by author James Baldwin overlaid on photo of photo of author James Baldwin with quote

People are trapped in history and history is trapped in them. Civil Rights activist, author, and critic James Baldwin was born on#ThisDayinHistory 1924.


Quote: For here you were, Big James, named for me--you were a big baby, I was not--here you were, to be loved. To be loved, baby, hard, at once, and forever, to strengthen you against the loveless world. by author James Baldwin overlaid on photo of photo of author James Baldwin with quote

For here you were, Big James, named for me--you were a big baby, I was not--here you were, to be loved. To be loved, baby, hard, at once, and forever, to strengthen you against the loveless world.


Quote: Perhaps he is a fool or a coward but almost everybody is one or the other and most people are both. by author James Baldwin overlaid on photo of photo of author James Baldwin with quote

Perhaps he is a fool or a coward but almost everybody is one or the other and most people are both.


Quote: Whose little boy are you? by author James Baldwin overlaid on photo of photo of author James Baldwin with quote

Whose little boy are you?


Cite this page:

APA Style Citation:

MLA Style Citation:

Link Back to Us: (preferred, thank you!)

Thank you for citing us - and thank you for sharing our quotes and quotepics - spread the joy - we appreciate it!


Popular Curated Collections

Nature

Beauty

Cute

Be Positive

Flower

Self-Discovery

bell-hooks

Gratitude

Hope

Productivity

Creativity

 


Know a quote that we are missing? Please use our suggest a quote form below and let us know. Thank YOU for visiting -- we wish you a perfect day!