Beneath these faces, these clothes, accents, rudeness, was power and sorrow, both unadmitted, unrealized, the power of inventors, the sorrow of the disconnected.
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.
No curtain under heaven is heavier than that curtain of guilt and lies behind which white Americans hide.
Love brought you here. If you trusted love this far, don't panic now.
We live in a nation of pigs and murderers.
Whoever debases others is debasing himself.
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.
People are trapped in history and history is trapped in them. Civil Rights activist, author, and critic James Baldwin was born on#ThisDayinHistory 1924.
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.
Perhaps he is a fool or a coward but almost everybody is one or the other and most people are both.
Whose little boy are you?
The artistic image is not intended to represent the thing itself, but, rather, the reality of the force the thing contains.
And here I was, left with only myself to deal with. It was entirely up to me.
The question of color was but another detail, somewhere between being six feet tall and being six feet under.
I yet contend that the mobs in the streets of Hitler's Germany were those in the streets not by the will of the German state, but by the will of the western world, including those architects of human freedom, the British.
No matter how it seems now, I must confess: I loved him. I do not think I will ever love anyone like that again.
Literature is indispensable to the world. The world changes according to the way people see it, and if you alter, even by a millimeter, the way a person looks at reality, then you can change it.
It took many years of vomiting up all the filth I'd been taught about myself, and half-believed, before I was able to walk on the earth as though I had a right to be here.
It is very nearly impossible to become an educated person in a country so distrustful of the independent mind.
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.
We made the world we're living in and we have to make it over.
Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.
Take no one's word for anything, including mine -- but trust your experience.
For these are all our children. We will all profit by, or pay for, whatever they become.
It is only in his music, which Americans are able to admire because a protective sentimentality limits their understanding of it, that the Negro in America has been able to tell his story.
An identity would seem to be arrived at by the way in which the person faces and uses his experience.
The responsibility of a writer is to excavate the experience of the people who produced him.
The South is very beautiful but its beauty makes one sad because the lives that people live here, and have lived here, are so ugly.
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.
But the relationship of morality and power is a very subtle one. Because ultimately power without morality is no longer power.
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.
We have all had the experience of finding that our reactions and perhaps even our deeds have denied beliefs we thought were ours.
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.
It is a great shock at the age of five or six to find that in a world of Gary Coopers you are the Indian.
If you're treated a certain way you become a certain kind of person. If certain things are described to you as being real they're real for you whether they're real or not.