Best of James Baldwin Quotes
James Baldwin is one of the most iconic writers of our time. In the 63 years that he has spent, he wrote numerous essays, short stories, plays, novels and was an unhappy victim to American racial strife. He died in 1987 and he spent most of his time writing about issues of religion, race and homosexuality. His publications were declared to have a “stunning impact on our cultural life”.
Make sure to check out our compilation of 15 Best Nikola Tesla Quotes.
If you have never read anything by James Baldwin ever then here is the chance, reading these quotes will draw you to the world that he created for everyone.
You can thank me later!
List of James Baldwin Quotes
- “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.”
- “You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read. It was books that taught me that the things that tormented me most were the very things that connected me with all the people who were alive, who had ever been alive.”
- “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.”
- “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. 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. One is responsible for life: It is the small beacon in that terrifying darkness from which we come and to which we shall return.”
- “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.”
- “Love takes off the masks that we fear we cannot live without and know we cannot live within. I use the word “love” here not merely in the personal sense but as a state of being, or a state of grace – not in the infantile American sense of being made happy but in the tough and universal sense of quest and daring and growth.”
- “It is very nearly impossible to become an educated person in a country so distrustful of the independent mind.”
- “Know from whence you came. If you know whence you came, there are absolutely no limitations to where you can go.”
- “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.”
- “You don’t have a home until you leave it and then, when you have left it, you never can go back.”
- “It is certain, in any case, that ignorance, allied with power, is the most ferocious enemy justice can have.”
- “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.”
- “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”
- “Freedom is not something that anybody can be given. Freedom is something people take, and people are as free as they want to be”
- “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”
In his essays, Baldwin always tried to explore the psychological implications of racial discrimination on both, the oppressed and the oppressor. Today, when issues of race, religion and sexuality are at the forefront of everything we see and feel, Baldwin’s words come as the light in a room full of darkness.