James Baldwin quotes

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

 

“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
James Baldwin quotes on what we allow ourselves to become

 

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
James Baldwin quotes on power

 

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 A. Baldwin
James Baldwin quotes on what people believe

 

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

 

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
If you’re enjoying these quotes, make sure to read our collection of education quotes about learning and success.
James Baldwin quotes on education

 

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
James Baldwin quotes on victims

 

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
James Baldwin quotes on revolutions

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced. – James A. Baldwin
James Baldwin quotes on the things we face

 

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

 

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

 

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
James Baldwin quotes about brothers

 

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
James Baldwin quotes about real change

 

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
James Baldwin quotes on the inability to love

 

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

 

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
James Baldwin quotes on writing
James Baldwin quotes on love

 

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

 

“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
James Baldwin quotes on growth

 

Be careful what you set your heart upon – for it will surely be yours. – James A. Baldwin
James Baldwin quotes to inspire and teach

 

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

 

“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
James Baldwin quotes on art

 

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

 

 

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
James Baldwin quotes about existence

 

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
james baldwin quotes on kindness

 

Great art can only be created out of love. – James A. Baldwin
james baldwin quotes on great art

 

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
james baldwin quotes on society
James Baldwin quotes on life

 

“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

 

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

 

People who shut their eyes to reality simply invite their own destruction. – James A. Baldwin

 

“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

 

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

 

The world’s definitions are one thing and the life one actually lives is quite another. One cannot allow oneself, nor one’s family, friends, or lovers – to say nothing of one’s children – to live according to the world’s definitions: one must find a way, perpetually, to be stronger and better than that. – James A. Baldwin

 

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

 

Everything in life depends on how that life accepts its limits. – James A. Baldwin

 

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

 

“I am what time, circumstance, history, have made of me, certainly, but I am also so much more than that. So are we all.” ― James Baldwin
Inspirational James Baldwin quotes

 

“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 making of bread.” ― James Baldwin

 

“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

 

“If the concept of God has any validity or any use, it can only be to make us larger, freer, and more loving. If God cannot do this, then it is time we got rid of Him.” ― James Baldwin

 

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

 

“Anyone who has struggled with poverty knows how extremely expensive it is to be poor.” ― James Baldwin

 

I can’t believe what you say, because I see what you do. – 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. – James A. Baldwin

 

Nobody is more dangerous than he who imagines himself pure in heart; for his purity, by definition, is unassailable. – James A. Baldwin

 

“I often wonder what I’d do if there weren’t any books in the world.” ― James Baldwin

 

“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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