James A Baldwin Quotes & Wallpapers

James A Baldwin
Total Quotes: 397


Love takes off masks that we fear we cannot live without and know we cannot live within. James A Baldwin
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Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them. James A Baldwin
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Life is tragic simply because the earth turns and the sun inexorably rises and sets, and one day, for each of us, the sun will go down for the last, last time. James A Baldwin
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All of Africa will be free before we can get a lousy cup of coffee. James A Baldwin
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But it was not the room's disorder which was frightening; it was the fact that when one began searching for the key to this disorder, one realized that it was not to be found in any of the usual places. For this was not a matter of habit or circumstance or temperament; it was a matter of punishment and grief. James A Baldwin
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If I could make you stay, I would," he shouted. "If I had to beat you, chain you, starve you-if I could make you stay, I would." He turned back into the room; the wind blew his hair. He shook his finger at me, grotesquely playful. "One day, perhaps, you will wish I had. James A Baldwin
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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. James A Baldwin
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I think Americans are terrified of feeling anything. I never met a people more infantile in my life. James A Baldwin
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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 A Baldwin
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The occurrence of an event is not the same thing as knowing what it is that one has lived through. Most people had not lived - nor could it, for that matter, be said that they had died- through any of their terrible events. They had simply been stunned by the hammer. They passed their lives thereafter in a kind of limbo of denied and unexamined pain. The great question that faced him this morning was whether or not had had ever, really, been present at his life. James A Baldwin
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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. James A Baldwin
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We cannot discuss the state of our minorities until we first have some sense of what we are, who we are, what our goals are, and what we take life to be. The question is not what we can do now for the hypothetical Mexican, the hypothetical Negro. The question is what we really want out of life, for ourselves, what we think is real. James A Baldwin
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People who remember court madness through pain, the pain of the perpetually recurring death of their innocence; people who forget court another kind of madness, the madness of the denial of pain and the hatred of innocence; and the world is mostly divided between madmen who remember and madmen forget. James A Baldwin
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It will be hard James but you come from sturdy peasant stock men who picked cotton and dammed rivers and built railroads and in the teeth of the most terrifying odds achieved an unassailable and monumental dignity You come from a long line of great poets some of the greatest poets since Homer. One of them said "The very time I thought I was lost My dungeon shook and my chains fell off." You know and I know that the country is celebrating one hundred years of freedom one hundred years too soon. We cannot be free until they are free. God bless you James and Godspeed. James A Baldwin
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You don't have a home until you leave it and then, when you have left it, you never can go back. James A Baldwin
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No one can possibly know what is about to happen: it is happening, each time, for the first time, for the only time. James A Baldwin
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Every legend, moreover, contains its residuum of truth, and the root function of language is to control the universe by describing it. James A Baldwin
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Rage cannot be hidden, it can only be dissembled. This dissembling deludes the thoughtless, and strengthens rage and adds, to rage, contempt. James A Baldwin
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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. James A Baldwin
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We are responsible for the world in which we find ourselves, if only because we are the only sentient force which can change it. James A Baldwin
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We have all had the experience of finding that our reactions and perhaps even our deeds have denied beliefs we thought were ours. James A Baldwin
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I am certainly convinced that it is one of the greatest impulses of mankind to arrive at something higher than a natural state. James A Baldwin
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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 A Baldwin
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Whatever white people do not know about Negroes reveals, precisely and inexorably, what they do not know about themselves. James A Baldwin
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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 A Baldwin
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If the concept of God has any validity or any use, it can only be to make us larger, freer, and more loving. If God cannot do this, then it is time we got rid of Him. James A Baldwin
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It seems to me that one ought to rejoice in the fact of death- ought to decide, indeed, to earn one's death by confronting with passion the conundrum of life. One is responsible to life: It is the small beacon in that terrifying darkness from which we come and to which we shall return. One must negotiate this passage as nobly as possible, for the sake of those who are coming after us. James A Baldwin
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Whoever is born in New York is ill-equipped to deal with any other city: all other cities seem, at best, a mistake, and, at worst, a fraud. No other city is so spitefully incoherent. Whereas other cities flaunt there history - their presumed glory - in vividly placed monuments, squares, parks, plaques, and boulevards, such history as New York has been unable entirely to obliterate is to be found, mainly, in the backwaters of Wall Street, in the goat tracks of Old and West Broadway, in and around Washington Square, and, for the relentless searcher, in grimly inaccessible regions of The Bronx. James A Baldwin
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A writer has to take all the risks of putting down what he sees. James A Baldwin
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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 James A Baldwin
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The past is what makes the present coherent, and the past will remain horrible for exactly as long as we refuse to assess it honestly. James A Baldwin
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I will no longer take anyone's word for my experience. James A Baldwin
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A writer has to take all the risks of putting down what he sees. No one can tell him about that. No one can control that reality. It reminds me of something Pablo Picasso was supposed to have said to Gertrude Stein while he was painting her portrait. Gertrude said, "I don't look like that." And Picasso replied, "You will." And he was right. James A Baldwin
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It is a very rare man who does not victimize the helpless. James A Baldwin
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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 A Baldwin
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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. James A Baldwin
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Remember, to hate, to be violent, is demeaning. It means you're afraid of the other side of the coin - to love and be loved. James A Baldwin
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Allegiance, after all, has to work two ways; and one can grow weary of an allegiance which is not reciprocal. James A Baldwin
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There are, forever, swamps to be drained, cities to be created, mines to be exploited, children to be fed ... But the conquest of the physical world is not man's only duty. He is also enjoined to conquer the great wilderness of himself. The precise role of the artist, then, is to illuminate that darkness, blaze roads through vast forests, so that we will not, in all our doing, lose sight of its purpose, which is, after all, to make the world a more human dwelling place. James A Baldwin
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I prefer sinners and madmen, who can learn, who can change, who can teach-or people like myself, if I may say so, who are not afraid to eat a lobster alone as they take on their shoulders the monumental weight of thirty years James A Baldwin
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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 A Baldwin
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People are trapped in history and history is trapped in them. James A Baldwin
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People pay for what they do, and still more for what they have allowed themselves to become. And they pay for it very simply; by the lives they lead. James A Baldwin
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It is very nearly impossible... to become an educated person in a country so distrustful of the independent mind. James A Baldwin
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To be sensual, I think, is to respect and rejoice in the force of life, of life itself, and to be present in all that one does, from the effort of loving to the making of bread. James A Baldwin
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Secrets hidden at the heart of midnight are simply waiting to be dragged to the light, as, on some unlucky high noon, they always are. But secrets shrouded in the glare of candor are bound to defeat even the most determined and agile inspector for the light is always changing and proves that the eye cannot be trusted. James A Baldwin
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People who shut their eyes to reality simply invite their own destruction. James A Baldwin
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It is perfectly possible to be enamoured of Paris while remaining totally indifferent or even hostile to the French. James A Baldwin
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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. James A Baldwin
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Everything now, we must assume, is in our hands; we have no right to assume otherwise. If we do not falter in our duty now, we may be able, handful that we are, to end the racial nightmare, and achieve our country, and change the history of the world. James A Baldwin
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One day, to everyone's astonishment, someone drops a match in the powder keg and everything blows up. James A Baldwin
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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. James A Baldwin
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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 A Baldwin
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Tell me, he said, "What is this thing about time? Why is it better to be late than early? People are always saying, we must wait, we must wait. what are they waiting for?" "Well [...] I guess people wait in order to make sure of what they feel." "And when you have waited-has it made you sure? James A Baldwin
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This is the charged, the dangerous moment, when everything must be re-examined, must be made new, when nothing at all can be taken for granted. James A Baldwin
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There are so many ways of being despicable it quite makes one's head spin. But the way to be really despicable is to be contemptuous of other people's pain. James A Baldwin
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When one begins to live by habit and by quotation, one has begun to stop living. James A Baldwin
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Nothing is more desirable than to be released from an affliction, but nothing is more frightening than to be divested of a crutch. James A Baldwin
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No people come into possession of a culture without having paid a heavy price for it. James A Baldwin
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The face of a lover is an unknown, precisely because it is invested with so much of oneself. It is a mystery, containing, like all mysteries, the possibility of torment. James A Baldwin
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But the relationship of morality and power is a very subtle one. Because ultimately power without morality is no longer power. James A Baldwin
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The future is like heaven-everyone exalts it but no one wants to go there now. James A Baldwin
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Everything in life depends on how that life accepts its limits. James A Baldwin
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People can't, unhappily, invent their mooring posts, their lovers and their friends, anymore than they can invent their parents. Life gives these and also takes them away and the great difficulty is to say Yes to life. James A Baldwin
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Most of us, no matter what we say, are walking in the dark, whistling in the dark. Nobody knows what is going to happen to him from one moment to the next, or how one will bear it. This is irreducible. And it's true of everybody. Now, it is true that the nature of society is to create, among its citizens, an illusion of safety; but it is also absolutely true that the safety is always necessarily an illusion. Artists are here to disturb the peace. James A Baldwin
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There are few things under heaven more unnerving than the silent, accumulating contempt and hatred of a people. James A Baldwin
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It comes as a great shock...to discover that the flag to which you have pledged allegiance...has not pledged allegiance to you. It comes as a great shock to see Gary Cooper killing off the Indians, and although you are rooting for Gary Cooper, that the Indians are you. James A Baldwin
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For nothing is more unbearable, once one has it, than freedom. James A Baldwin
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If I could make you stay, I would,' he shouted. 'If I had to beat you, chain you, starve you-if I could make you stay, I would.' He turned back into the room; the wind blew his hair. He shook his finger at me, grotesquely playful. 'One day, perhaps, you will wish I had. James A Baldwin
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Well,' I said, 'Paris is old, is many centuries. You feel, in Paris, all the time gone by. That isn't what you feel in New York - 'He was smiling. I stopped. 'What do you feel in New York?' he asked. 'Perhaps you feel,' I told him, 'all the time to come. There's such power there, everything is in such movement. You can't help wondering-I can't help wondering-what it will all be like- many years from now. James A Baldwin
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