James A Baldwin Quotes & Wallpapers

James A Baldwin
Total Quotes: 397


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

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

You write in order to change the world. James A Baldwin

Employment is my right my destiny. James A Baldwin

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. James A Baldwin

He leaned up a little and watched her face. Her face would now be, forever, more mysterious and impenetrable than the face of any stranger. Strangers' faces hold no secrets because the imagination does not invest them with any. But 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

There are people in the world for whom "coming along" is a perpetual process, people who are destined never to arrive. James A Baldwin

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

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

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

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

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

Drive to the heart of every answer and expose the question the answer hides. James A Baldwin

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

To be black and conscious in America is to be in a constant state of rage. James A Baldwin

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

This world is white no longer, and it will never be white again. James A Baldwin

I remember standing on a street corner with the black painter Beauford Delaney down in the Village, waiting for the light to change, and he pointed down and said, 'Look.' I looked and all I saw was water. And he said, 'Look again,' which I did, and I saw oil on the water and the city reflected in the puddle. It was a great revelation to me. I can't explain it. He taught me how to see, and how to trust what I saw. Painters have often taught writers how to see. And once you've had that experience, you see differently. James A Baldwin

Hatred destroys the person who hates. James A Baldwin

The reason people think it's important to be white is that they think it's important not to be black. James A Baldwin

The artistic image is not intended to represent the thing itself, but, rather, the reality of the force the thing contains. James A Baldwin

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

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

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

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

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

There are few things under heaven more unnerving than the silent, accumulating contempt and hatred of a people. James A Baldwin

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

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

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

Those who say it can't be done are usually interrupted by others doing it. James A Baldwin

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

The price one pays for pursuing any profession, or calling, is an intimate knowledge of its ugly side. James A Baldwin

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

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

The moment we break faith with one another, the sea engulfs us and the light goes out. James A Baldwin

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

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

The male cannot bear very much humiliation; and he really cannot bear it, it obliterates him. James A Baldwin

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

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

All I know about music is that not many people ever really hear it. James A Baldwin

Well," I said, "Paris is old, is many centuries. You feel, in Paris, all the time gone by. That is' 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 ca' help wondering-I ca' help wondering-what it will all be like- many years from now. James A Baldwin

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

I conceive of God, in fact, as a means of liberation and not a means to control others. James A Baldwin

A real writer is always shifting and changing and searching. James A Baldwin

What passes for identity in America is a series of myths about one's heroic ancestors. James A Baldwin

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Perhaps home is not a place but simply an irrevocable condition. James A Baldwin

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

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

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

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

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

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

The impossible is the least that one can demand. James A 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 A Baldwin

American history is longer, larger, more various, more beautiful, and more terrible than anything anyone has ever said about it. James A Baldwin

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

The most dangerous creation of any society is the man who has nothing to lose. James A Baldwin

For these are all our children, we will all profit by or pay for whatthey become. James A Baldwin

When you're writing you're trying to find out something which you don't know. James A Baldwin

The determination to outwit one's situation means that one has no models, only object lessons. James A Baldwin

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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