James Baldwin Quotes

Here is the list of top James Baldwin quotes gathered in the same place for you to read and get inspired from. James Baldwin became famous as a non-fiction writer and a playwright during the 20th century with his essays exploring intricacies of sexual, racial and class distinctions in Western societies, especially in the US. A couple of movies have also been filmed about his work and life. The quotes on this list from James Baldwin are for example about music, love, poverty, history and prejudice.Feel free to vote up your own favourite James Baldwin quote to give it a better chance to rank higher on the list. We recommend you to start browsing these James Baldwin quotes from the top of the list, as the list is ranked by community votes with the most popular ones to be found on the top.

  1. 1
    James Baldwin

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

  2. 2
    James Baldwin

    “People don’t have any mercy. They tear you limb from limb, in the name of love. Then, when you’re dead, when they’ve killed you by what they made you go through, they say you didn’t have any character. They weep big, bitter tears – not for you. For themselves, because they’ve lost their toy.” ― James Baldwin

  3. 3
    James Baldwin

    “The most dangerous creation of any society is the man who has nothing to lose.” ― James Baldwin

  4. 4
    James Baldwin

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

  5. 5
    James Baldwin

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

  6. 6
    James Baldwin

    “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

  7. 7
    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

  8. 8
    James Baldwin

    “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

  9. 9
    James Baldwin

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

  10. 10
    James Baldwin

    “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

  11. 11
    James Baldwin

    “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.” ―

  12. 12
    James Baldwin

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

  13. 13
    James Baldwin

    “To accept one’s past – one’s history – is not the same thing as drowning in it; it is learning how to use it. An invented past can never be used; it cracks and crumbles under the pressures of life like clay in a season of drought.” ― James Baldwin

  14. 14
    James Baldwin

    “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

  15. 15
    James Baldwin

    “Everybody’s journey is individual. If you fall in love with a boy, you fall in love with a boy. The fact that many Americans consider it a disease says more about them than it does about homosexuality. ” ― James Baldwin

  16. 16
    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

  17. 17
    James Baldwin

    “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

  18. 18
    James Baldwin

    “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

  19. 19
    James 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 Baldwin

  20. 20
    James Baldwin

    “For, while the tale of how we suffer, and how we are delighted, and how we may triumph is never new, it always must be heard. There isn’t any other tale to tell, it’s the only light we’ve got in all this darkness.” ― James Baldwin

  21. 21
    James Baldwin

    “Neither love nor terror makes one blind: indifference makes one blind.”― James Baldwin

  22. 22
    James Baldwin

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

  23. 23
    James Baldwin

    “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

  24. 24
    James Baldwin

    “Those who say it can’t be done are usually interrupted by others doing it.” ― James Baldwin

  25. 25
    James Baldwin

    “Nothing is more desirable than to be released from an affliction, but nothing is more frightening than to be divested of a crutch. ” ― James Baldwin

  26. 26
    James Baldwin

    “Whoever debases others is debasing himself.” ― James Baldwin

  27. 27
    James Baldwin

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

  28. 28
    James 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

  29. 29
    James Baldwin

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

  30. 30
    James Baldwin

    “The place in which I’ll fit will not exist until I make it.” ― James Baldwin

  31. 31
    James Baldwin

    “Hatred is always self hatred, and there is something suicidal about it.” ― James Baldwin

  32. 32
    James Baldwin

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

  33. 33
    James 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 Baldwin

  34. 34
    James Baldwin

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

  35. 35
    James Baldwin

    “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, or who had ever been alive.”  ― James Baldwin

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