James A Baldwin Quotes & Wallpapers

James A Baldwin
Total Quotes: 397


We all commit our crimes. The thing is to not lie about them - to try to understand what you have done, why you have done it. That way, you can begin to forgive yourself. That's very important. If you don't forgive yourself you'll never be able to forgive anybody else and you'll go on committing the same crimes forever. James A Baldwin
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And I was yet aware that this was only a moment, that the world waited outside, as hungry as a tiger, and that trouble stretched above us, longer than the sky. James A Baldwin
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The states of birth, suffering, love, and death, are extreme states: extreme, universal, and inescapable. We all know this, but we would rather not know it. The artist is present to correct the delusions to which we are all prey in our attempts to avoid this knowledge." - James Baldwin, "The Creative Process James A Baldwin
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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. James A Baldwin
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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. James A Baldwin
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Ask any Mexican, any Puerto Rican, any black man, any poor person - ask the wretched how they fare in the halls of justice, and then you will know, not whether or not the country is just, but whether or not it has any love for justice, or any concept of it. It is certain, in any case, that ignorance, allied with power, is the most ferocious enemy justice can have. James A Baldwin
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Drive to the heart of every answer and expose the question the answer hides. James A Baldwin
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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. James A Baldwin
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To be black and conscious in America is to be in a constant state of rage. James A Baldwin
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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! James A Baldwin
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This world is white no longer, and it will never be white again. 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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The price one pays for pursuing any profession, or calling, is an intimate knowledge of its ugly side. James A Baldwin
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There are few things more dreadful than dealing with a man who knows he is going under, in his own eyes, and in the eyes of others. Nothing can help that man. What is left of that man flees from what is left of human attention. 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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Trust life, and it will teach you, in joy and sorrow, all you need to know. James A Baldwin
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Heavenly witnesses are a tricky lot, to be used by whoever is closest to Heaven at the time. And legend and theology, which are designed to sanctify our fears, crimes, and aspirations, also reveal them for what they are. James A Baldwin
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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. James A Baldwin
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The artistic image is not intended to represent the thing itself, but, rather, the reality of the force the thing contains. James A Baldwin
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To be a Negro in this country and to be relatively conscious is to be in a rage almost all the time. James A Baldwin
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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. James A Baldwin
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Those who say it can't be done are usually interrupted by others doing it. 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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Hatred destroys the person who hates. James A Baldwin
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The reason people think it's important to be white is that they think it's important not to be black. 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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Man cannot live by profit alone. James A Baldwin
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Most people... find a disorientating mismatch between the long-term nature of their liabilities and the increasingly short-term nature of their assets. James A Baldwin
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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. James A Baldwin
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You write in order to change the world. James A Baldwin
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Employment is my right my destiny. James A Baldwin
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People said that he was very nice, but I confess that his utter grotesqueness made me uneasy; perhaps in the same way that the sight of monkeys eating their own excrement turns some people's stomachs. They might not mind so much if monkeys did not- so grotesquely- resemble human beings. James A Baldwin
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The civilized have created the wretched, quite coldly and deliberately, and do not intend to change the status quo; are responsible for their slaughter and enslavement; rain down bombs on defenseless children whenever and wherever they decide that their 'vital interests' are menaced, and think nothing of torturing a man to death: these people are not to be taken seriously when they speak of the 'sanctity' of human life, or the 'conscience' of the civilized world. James A Baldwin
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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. James A Baldwin
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The primary distinction of the artist is that he must actively cultivate that state which most men, necessarily, must avoid: the state of being alone. James A Baldwin
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The moment we break faith with one another, the sea engulfs us and the light goes out. James A Baldwin
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It demands great spiritual resilience not to hate the hater whose foot is on your neck, and an even greater miracle of perception and charity not to teach your child to hate. James A Baldwin
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We take our shape, it is true, within and against that cage of reality bequeathed us at our birth; and yet it is precisely through our dependence on this reality that we are most endlessly betrayed. James A Baldwin
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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. James A Baldwin
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It must be remembered that in those great days I was considered to be an "integrationist" - this was never, quite, my own idea of myself - and Malcolm was considered to be a "racist in reverse." This formulation, in terms of power - and power is the arena in which racism is acted out - means absolutely nothing: it may even be described as a cowardly formulation. The powerless, by definition, can never be "racists," for they can never make the world pay for what they feel or fear except by the suicidal endeavor which makes them fanatics or revolutionaries, or both. James A Baldwin
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The place in which I'll fit will not exist until I make it. James A Baldwin
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The world tends to trap you in the role you play and it is always extremely hard to maintain a watchful, mocking distance between oneself as one appears to be and oneself as one actually is. James A Baldwin
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I conceive of God, in fact, as a means of liberation and not a means to control others. James A Baldwin
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A real writer is always shifting and changing and searching. James A Baldwin
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What passes for identity in America is a series of myths about one's heroic ancestors. James A Baldwin
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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. James A Baldwin
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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. James A Baldwin
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People who have been wronged will attempt to right the wrong; they would not be people if they didn't. They can rarely afford to be scrupulous about the means they will use. They will use such means as come to hand. Neither, in the main, will they distinguish one oppressor from another, nor see through to the root principle of their oppression. James A Baldwin
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Love is like the lightning, and your maturity is signaled by the extent to which you can accept the dangers and the power and the beauty of love. James A Baldwin
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Confusion is a luxury which only the very, very young can possibly afford and you are not that young anymore James A Baldwin
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Societies never know it, but the war of an artist with his society is a lover's war, and he does, at his best, what lovers do, which is to reveal the beloved to himself and, with that revelation, to make freedom real. James A Baldwin
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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. James A Baldwin
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The power of the white world is threatened whenever a black man refuses to accept the white world's definitions. James A Baldwin
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The young think that failure is the Siberian end of the line, banishment from all the living, and tend to do what I then did - which was to hide. James A Baldwin
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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. James A Baldwin
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Nakedness has no color: this can come as news only to those who have never covered, or been covered by, another naked human being. James A Baldwin
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We cannot discuss the state of our minorities until we first have a sense of what we are, who we are, what our goals are, and what we take life to be. James A Baldwin
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When you're writing you're trying to find out something which you don't know. James A Baldwin
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The determination to outwit one's situation means that one has no models, only object lessons. James A Baldwin
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Perhaps home is not a place but simply an irrevocable condition. James A Baldwin
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It happened, as many things do, imperceptibly, in many ways at once. I date it - the slow crumbling of my faith, the pulverization of my fortress - from the time, about a year after I had begun to preach, when I began to read again. I justified this desire by the fact that I was still in school, and I began, fatally, with Dostoyevsky. James A Baldwin
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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 A Baldwin
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American history is longer, larger, more various, more beautiful, and more terrible than anything anyone has ever said about it. James A Baldwin
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The only thing that white people have that black people need, or should want, is power-and no one holds power forever. James A Baldwin
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The most dangerous creation of any society is the man who has nothing to lose. James A Baldwin
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The impossible is the least that one can demand. James A Baldwin
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For these are all our children, we will all profit by or pay for whatthey become. James A Baldwin
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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. James A Baldwin
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