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Best James Baldwin Quotes

James Baldwin Quotes About Love, Change, Freedom, Education, Keep Going, Oppression, Art, & Identity! In his novels, essays, and plays, American writer James Baldwin decoded the complexities of Western culture to captivate readers around the globe. On August 2, 1924, in Harlem, New York, James Baldwin was born. Early on, Baldwin showed a talent for writing and a love of books, which he pursued at school. Baldwin’s work in the magazine was a remarkable accomplishment for a child writer at such an early age to have such an awareness of advanced literary strategies.

James Baldwin Quotes

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To help support his novel-writing endeavors, Baldwin took on odd jobs. Finally, in 1953, Baldwin released his debut novel, Tell It on the Mountain. In this loosely autobiographical story, a Harlem boy struggles with his father’s troubles and religion.

Baldwin rewarded a Guggenheim fellowship in 1954. After Giovanni’s Room, he released his second novel in 2013. An American expatriate in Paris, the protagonist of the story, confronts the forbidden topic of homosexuality head-on in this groundbreaking drama. Again, Baldwin did an excellent job of experimenting with playwriting. He wrote The Amen Corner, a study of the phenomena of Pentecostal Christianity in the form of storefronts.

The Fire Next Time marked a significant shift in Baldwin’s writing in 1963. This collection of essays was put together to inform white Americans about what it means to be Black. As Baldwin’s literary renown waned, he continued to produce new works in various mediums, including short stories and novels. Baldwin was also a keen observer of American culture and ethnicity. In addition to his work as a college professor, Baldwin devoted many years to educating students about the world around him. On December 1, 1987, Baldwin passed away.

Best James Baldwin Quotes

1. “Perhaps home is not a place but simply an irrevocable condition.” ― James Baldwin

2. “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

3. 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

3. 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

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

6. 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

7. 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 A. Baldwin

8. We should certainly know by now that it is one thing to overthrow a dictator or repel an invader and quite another thing really to achieve a revolution. Time and time and time again, the people discover that they have merely betrayed themselves into the hands of yet another Pharaoh, who, since he was necessary to put the broken country together, will not let them go. – James A. Baldwin

9. A liberal: someone who thinks he knows more about your experience than you do. – James A. Baldwin

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

11. “People can cry much easier than they can change.” ― James Baldwin

12. People are trapped in history and history is trapped in them. – James A. Baldwin

13. Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced. – James A. Baldwin

14. You have to decide who you are and force the world to deal with you, not with its idea of you. – James A. Baldwin

15. The world is before you and you need not take it or leave it as it was when you came in. – James A. Baldwin

16. If the word ‘integration’ means anything, this is what it means that we, with love, shall force our brothers to see themselves as they are, to cease fleeing from reality and begin to change it. – James A. Baldwin

17. 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

18. I think that the inability to love is the central problem, because that inability masks a certain terror, and that terror is the terror of being touched. And if you can’t be touched, you can’t be changed. And if you can’t be changed, you can’t be alive. – James A. Baldwin

19. The point is to get your work done, and your work is to change the world.” – James A. Baldwin

20. 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 A. Baldwin

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

22. “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 Baldwin

23. Be careful what you set your heart upon – for it will surely be yours. – James A. Baldwin

24. Love takes off masks that we fear we cannot live without and know we cannot live within. – James A. Baldwin

25. “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

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

27. The universe, which is not merely the stars and the moon and the planets, flowers, grass and trees, but other people, has evolved no terms for your existence, has made no room for you, and if love will not swing wide the gates, no other power will or can. And if one despairs– as who has not?– of human love, God’s love alone is left. – James A. Baldwin

28. 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

29. Great art can only be created out of love. – James A. Baldwin

30. 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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