110 James Baldwin Quotes On Love, Change, Racism, Education

James Baldwin Quotes On Love, Change, Racism, Education
James Baldwin Quotes On Love, Change, Racism, Education

James Baldwin Quotes On Love, Change, Racism, Education


James Baldwin was an American essayist, novelist, playwright, poet, and activist. Here are the best James Baldwin quotes and a short biography. His full name James Arthur Baldwin.

James Baldwin was born on 2 August 1924 at Harlem, New York City. Baldwin essays, as gathered in Notes of a Native Son (1955), investigate complexities of racial, sexual, and class differentiation in Western social orders, yet most eminently in the mid-twentieth century United States. His books, short stories, and plays fictionalize basic individual inquiries and predicaments in the midst of complex social and mental weights. Subjects of manliness, sexuality, race, and class entwine to make complex stories that run corresponding with a portion of the major political developments towards social change in mid-twentieth century America, for example, the Civil Rights Movement and the Gay Liberation Movement.

Baldwin's main characters are frequently, yet not only, African American. Gay and bisexual men additiony as often as possible component as heroes in his writing. These characters frequently face inside and outer snags as they continued looking for cultural and self-acknowledgement. Such elements are unmistakable in Baldwin's 2nd novel, Giovanni's Room, written in 1956, well before before the Gay Liberation Movement. Check out the following best James Baldwin quotes on love, education, change, race, humanity, identity, freedom, justice, art and others.


Inspirational James Baldwin Quotes


1. Know from whence you came. If you know whence you came, there are absolutely no limitations to where you can go. - James Baldwin

2. Precisely at the point when you begin to develop a conscience you must find yourself at war with your society. - James Baldwin

3. Not in the infantile American sense of being made happy but in the tough and universal sense of quest and daring and growth. - James Baldwin


4. Hatred is always self hatred, and there is something suicidal about it. - James Baldwin

James Baldwin Quotes On Love, Change, Racism, Education

5. You don’t have a home until you leave it and then, when you have left it, you never can go back. - James Baldwin

6. No one is more dangerous than he who imagines himself pure in heart: for his purity, by definition, is unassailable. - James Baldwin

7. 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 Baldwin

8. The world is before you, and you need not take it or leave it as it was when you came in. - James Baldwin

9. Sentimentality, the ostentatious parading of excessive and spurious emotion, is the mark of dishonesty, the inability to feel. - James A. Baldwin

10. Our crown has already been bought and paid for. All we have to do is wear it. - James Baldwin


James Baldwin Quotes On Love, Change, Racism, Education

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

12. Hatred, which could destroy so much, never failed to destroy the man who hated, and this was an immutable law. - James Baldwin

13. There are too many things we do not wish to know about ourselves. - James Baldwin


Famous James Baldwin Quotes


14. Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them. - James Baldwin

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

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

17. Anyone who has ever struggled with poverty knows how extremely expensive it is to be poor. - James Baldwin


James Baldwin Quotes On Love, Change, Racism, Education

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

19. There is never time in the future in which we will work out our salvation. The challenge is in the moment; the time is always now. - James A. Baldwin



James Baldwin Quotes On Love


20. True rebels after all, are as rare as true lovers,and in both cases, to mistake a fever for passion can destroy one's life. - James Baldwin

21. 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. - James Baldwin

22. 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 Baldwin


23. Love brought you here. If you trusted love this far, don't panic now. - James Baldwin

James Baldwin Quotes On Love, Change, Racism, Education

24. 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

25. Love takes off the masks we fear we cannot live without and know we cannot live within. - James Baldwin

26. And love will simply have no choice but to go into battle with space and time, and furthermore, to win. - James Baldwin

27. The trick is to love somebody.... If you love one person, you see everybody else differently. - James A. Baldwin

Read: Beautiful Quotes On Love

28. If you cannot love me, I will die. Before you came I wanted to die, I have told you many times. It is cruel to have made me want to live only to make my death more bloody. - James Baldwin

29. Love him and let him love you. Do you think anything else under heaven really matters? - James A. Baldwin

30. Love was a country he knew nothing about. - James Baldwin


31. Neither love nor terror makes one blind: indifference makes one blind. - James Baldwin


James Baldwin Quotes On Love, Change, Racism, Education

32. Everyone wishes to be loved, but in the event, nearly no one can bear it. Everyone desires love but also finds it impossible to believe that he deserves it. - James Baldwin

33. The noblest spirit is most strongly attracted by the love of glory. - James A. Baldwin

34. It was a gesture of great despair and I knew that she was giving herself, not to me, but to that lover who would never come. - James Baldwin


James Baldwin Quotes On Change


35. Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced. - James Baldwin

36. You write in order to change the world ... if you alter, even by a millimeter, the way people look at reality, then you can change it. - James Baldwin

37. The world changes according to the way people see it, and if you alter, even but a millimeter the way people look at reality, then you can change it. - James Baldwin


38. People can cry much easier than they can change. - James Baldwin

James Baldwin Quotes On Love, Change, Racism, Education

39. 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 Baldwin

40. In order for this to happen, your entire frame of reference will have to change, and you will be forced to surrender many things that you now scarcely know you have. - James Baldwin

41. 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 Baldwin



James Baldwin Quotes On Freedom


42. 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 Baldwin

43. For nothing is more unbearable, once one has it, than freedom. - James Baldwin

44. Freedom lurked around us and I understood, at last, that he could help us be free if we would listen, that he would never be free until we did. - James Baldwin


James Baldwin Quotes On Education


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

46. 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. - James Baldwin


47. Education is indoctrination if you're white - subjugation if you're black. - James Baldwin

James Baldwin Quotes On Love, Change, Racism, Education

48. It is very nearly impossible to become an educated person in a country so distrustful of the independent mind. - James Baldwin

49. We do not trust educated people and rarely, alas, produce them, for we do not trust the independence of mind which alone makes a genuine education possible. - James Baldwin

50. 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



James Baldwin Quotes On Race, Racism, Identity and Humanity


51. Please try to remember that what they believe, as well as what they do and cause you to endure does not testify to your inferiority but to their inhumanity. - James Baldwin

52. I can't believe what you say, because I see what you do. - James Baldwin

53. Because I was raised in a Christian culture I never considered myself to be a totally free human being. - James Baldwin


54. Colour is not a human or a personal reality; it is a political reality. - James Baldwin

James Baldwin Quotes On Love, Change, Racism, Education

55. 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 Baldwin

56. Whoever debases others is debasing himself. - James Baldwin

57. To be a Negro in this country and to be relatively conscious is to be in a rage almost all the time. - James Baldwin

58. 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 Baldwin

59. 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 Baldwin

60. All racists are irresponsible. - James A. Baldwin

61. The American ideal, after all, is that everyone should be as much alike as possible. - James Baldwin


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

James Baldwin Quotes On Love, Change, Racism, Education

63. The victim who is able to articulate the situation of the victim has ceased to be a victim: he or she has become a threat. - James Baldwin

64. It is a great shock at the age of five or six to find that in a world of Gary Cooper's you are the Indian. - James A. Baldwin

65. Identity would seem to be the garment with which one covers the nakedness of the self: in which case, it is best that the garment be loose, a little like the robes of the desert, through which one's nakedness can always be felt, and, sometimes, discerned. - James Baldwin



James Baldwin Quotes On Life


66. 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 Baldwin

67. 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 Baldwin

Read: Sad Quotes About Life


68. 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 breaking of bread. - James Baldwin

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


James Baldwin Quotes On Love, Change, Racism, Education

70. 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 Baldwin

71. 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 Baldwin



Best James Baldwin Quotes


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

73. You want to write a sentence as clean as a bone. That is the goal. - James A. Baldwin

74. But the relationship of morality and power is a very subtle one. Because ultimately power without morality is no longer power. - James A. Baldwin

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


76. The interior life is a real life, and the intangible dreams of people have a tangible effect on the world. - James Baldwin


James Baldwin Quotes On Love, Change, Racism, Education

77. I want to be an honest man and a good writer. - James Baldwin

78. You can not describe anything without betraying your point of view, your aspirations, your fears, your hopes. - James Baldwin

79. To defend oneself against a fear is simply to insure that one will, one day, be conquered by it; fears must be faced. - James Baldwin

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


James Baldwin Quotes On Justice


81. It is certain, in any case, that ignorance, allied with power, is the most ferocious enemy justice can have. - James Baldwin

82. 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


Short James Baldwin Quotes


83. No man is a devil in his own mind. - James Baldwin

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

85. Writing is a political instrument. - James A. Baldwin

86. Man cannot live by profit alone. - James A. Baldwin

87. All art is a kind of confession. - James Baldwin

88. I can't be a pessimist, because I am alive. - James Baldwin

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


James Baldwin Quotes On Art


90. All art is a kind of confession, more or less oblique. All artists, if they are to survive, are forced, at last, to tell the whole story; to vomit the anguish up. - James Baldwin

91. The purpose of art is to lay bare the questions that have been hidden by the answers. - James Baldwin

92. Great art can only be created out of love. - James A. Baldwin


James Baldwin Quotes On Love, Change, Racism, Education

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

94. The writer's only real task: to recreate out of the disorder of life that order which is art. - James Baldwin


Funny James Baldwin Quotes


95. 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 Baldwin


James Baldwin Quotes On God and Death


96. If the concept of God has any validity or any use, it can only be to make us larger, freer, and more loving. - James Baldwin

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


98. God be thanked for books! They are the voices of the distant and the dead. - James Baldwin

James Baldwin Quotes On Love, Change, Racism, Education

99. I simply wondered about the dead because their days had ended and I did not know how I would get through mine. - James Baldwin

100. If God cannot do this, then it is time we got rid of Him. - James Baldwin


James Baldwin Quotes On History, pain and Reading


101. You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read. - James Baldwin

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

103. I imagine one of the reasons people cling to their hates so stubbornly is because they sense, once hate is gone, they will be forced to deal with pain. - James Baldwin

104. History is not a procession of illustrious people. It's about what happens to a people. Millions of anonymous people is what history is about. - James Baldwin

105. 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 Baldwin


106. People are trapped in history and history is trapped in them. - James Baldwin

James Baldwin Quotes On Love, Change, Racism, Education

107. The way to be really despicable is to be contemptuous of other people's pain. - James Baldwin

108. I am what time, circumstance, history, have made of me, certainly, but I am, also, much more than that. So are we all. - James Baldwin

109. To accept one’s past – one’s history – is not the same thing as drowning in it; it is learning how to use it. - James Baldwin

110. 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 Baldwin


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