James A Baldwin Quotes & Wallpapers

James A Baldwin
Total Quotes: 397


The power of the white world is threatened whenever a black man refuses to accept the white world's definitions. James A Baldwin

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

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

An identity would seem to be arrived at by the way in which the person faces and uses his experience. James A Baldwin

The white man discovered the Cross by way of the Bible, but the black man discovered the Bible by way of the Cross. James A Baldwin

Any honest examination of the national life proves how far we are from the standard of human freedom with which we began. The recovery of this standard demands of everyone who loves this country a hard look at himself, for the greatest achievements must begin somewhere, and they always begin with the person. James A Baldwin

If one cannot risk oneself, then one is simply incapable of giving. And, after all, one can give freedom only be setting someone free. James A Baldwin

Words like 'freedom', 'justice' and '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. James A Baldwin

It is impossible to pretend that you are not heir to, and therefore, however inadequately or unwillingly, responsible to, and for, the time and place that give you life - without becoming, at very best, a dangerously disoriented human being. James A Baldwin

The wretched of the earth do not decide to become extinct, they resolve, on the contrary, to multiply: life is their weapon against life, life is all that they have. James A Baldwin

The purpose of education...is to create in a person the ability to look at the world for himself, to make his own decisions. James A Baldwin

You're getting to be a big boy,' I said desperately, 'it's time you started thinking about your future.' 'I'm thinking about my future,' said Sonny, grimly. 'I think about it all the time. James A Baldwin

After departure, only invisible things are left, perhaps the life of the world is held together by invisible chains of memory and loss and love. So many things, so many people, depart! And we can only repossess them in our minds. James A Baldwin

Youth must be the worst time in anybody's life. Everything's happening for the first time, which means that sorrow, then, lasts forever. Later, you can see that there was something very beautiful in it. That's because you ain't got to go through it no more. James A Baldwin

If all you want to do is make money, the very last thing you need is imagination. James A Baldwin

I often wonder what I'd do if there weren't any books in the world. James A Baldwin

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

A devotion to humanity is... too easily equated with a devotion to a Cause, and Causes, as we know, are notoriously bloodthirsty. James A Baldwin

Artists are here to disturb the peace. James A Baldwin

It is astonishing the lengths to which a person, or a people, will go in order to avoid a truthful mirror. James A Baldwin

People who cling to their illusions find it difficult, if not impossible, to learn anything worth learning: a people under the necessity of creating themselves must examine everything, and soak up learning the way the roots of a tree soak up water. James A Baldwin

To ask questions of the universe, and then learn to live with those questions, is the way he achieves his own identity. James A Baldwin

People can cry much easier than they can change, a rule of psychology people like me picked up as kids on the street. James A Baldwin

The greatest significance of the present student generation is that it is through them that the point of view of the subjugated is finally and inexorably being expressed. James A Baldwin

It seems to be typical of life in America ... that the second generation has no time to talk to the first. James A Baldwin

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. I think all theories are suspect, that the finest principles may have to be modified, or may even be pulverized by the demands of life, and that one must find, therefore, one's own moral center and move through the world hoping that this center will guide one aright. James A Baldwin

The American idea of racial progress is measured by how fast I become white. James A Baldwin

He may be a very nice man. But I haven't got the time to figure that out. All I know is, he's got a uniform and a gun and I have to relate to him that way. That's the only way to relate to him because one of us may have to die. James A Baldwin

Writing is a political instrument. James A Baldwin

At four o'clock in the morning, when everyone is drunk enough, then extraordinary things can happen. James A Baldwin

I'm beginning to think that maybe everything that happens makes sense. Like, if it didn't make sense, how could it happen? James A Baldwin

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. James A Baldwin

We are very cruelly trapped between what we would like to be and what we actually are. And we cannot possibly become what we would like to be until we are willing to ask ourselves just why the lives we lead on this continent are mainly so empty, so tame, and so ugly. James A Baldwin

I was guilty and irritated and full of love and pain. I wanted to kick him and I wanted to take him in my arms. James A Baldwin

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 do' look like that." And Picasso replied, "You will." And he was right. James A Baldwin

People who believe that they are strong-willed and the masters of their destiny can only continue to believe this by becoming specialists in self-deception. James A Baldwin

You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read. It was Dostoevsky and Dickens who taught me that the things that tormented me most were the very things that connected me with all the people who were alive, or who ever had been alive. Only if we face these open wounds in ourselves can we understand them in other people. James A Baldwin

When the South has trouble with its Negroes when the Negroes refuse to remain in their "place" it blames "outside agitators" and "Northern interference." When the nation has trouble with the Northern Negro, it blames the Kremlin. James A Baldwin

In overlooking, denying, evading this complexity-which is nothing more than the disquieting complexity of ourselves-we are diminished and we perish; only within this web of ambiguity, paradox, this hunger, danger, darkness, can we find at once ourselves and the power that will free us from ourselves. It is this power of revelation that is the business of the novelist, this journey toward a more vast reality which must take precedence over other claims. James A Baldwin

To hold in the mind forever two ideas which seemed to be in opposition. The first . . . acceptance totally without rancor, of life as it is, and men as they are [;] . . . the second . . . that one must never, in one's life, accept . . . injustices as commonplace but must fight them with all one's strength. James A Baldwin

Those kids aren't dumb. But the people who run these schools want to make sure they don't get smart: they are really teaching the kids to be slaves. James A Baldwin

Any real change implies the breakup of the world as one has always known it, the loss of all that gave one an identity, the end of safety. James A Baldwin

Yr crown has been bought and paid for. All you have to do is put it on yr head James A Baldwin

I love America more than any other country in this world, and, exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually. James A Baldwin

Most of us are about as eager to be changed as we were to be born, and go through our changes in a similar state of shock. James A Baldwin

Voyagers discover that the world can never be larger than the person that is in the world; but it is impossible to foresee this, it is impossible to be warned. James A Baldwin

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, the only fact we have. 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. James A Baldwin



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