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James Baldwin Quotes

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It is a great shock at the age of 5 or 6 to find that in a world of Gary Coopers you are the Indian.

It is a great shock at the age of 5 or 6 to find that in a world of Gary Coopers you are the Indian.


         

The South is very beautiful but its beauty makes one sad because the lives that people live here, and have lived here, are so ugly.

The South is very beautiful but its beauty makes one sad because the lives that people live here, and have lived here, are so ugly.


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

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


         
We have all had the experience of finding that our reactions and perhaps even our deeds have denied beliefs we thought were ours.

We have all had the experience of finding that our reactions and perhaps even our deeds have denied beliefs we thought were ours.


         
People always seem to band together in accordance to a principle that has nothing to do with love, a principle that releases them from personal responsibility. (p. 81)

People always seem to band together in accordance to a principle that has nothing to do with love, a principle that releases them from personal responsibility. (p. 81)


         

The power to define the other seals one's definition of oneself.

The power to define the other seals one's definition of oneself.


         
We held each other so close that we might indeed have been one body.

We held each other so close that we might indeed have been one body.


         
Nothing is more desirable than to be released from an affliction but nothing is more frightening than to be divested of a crutch.

Nothing is more desirable than to be released from an affliction but nothing is more frightening than to be divested of a crutch.


         
Beyond talent lie all the usual words: discipline, love, luck, but, most of all, endurance.

Beyond talent lie all the usual words: discipline, love, luck, but, most of all, endurance.


         
But the relationship of morality and power is a very subtle one. Because ultimately power without morality is no longer power.

But the relationship of morality and power is a very subtle one. Because ultimately power without morality is no longer power.


         
Most people in action are not worth very much and yet every human being is an unprecedented miracle.

Most people in action are not worth very much and yet every human being is an unprecedented miracle.


         

This world is white no longer and it will never be white again.

This world is white no longer and it will never be white again.


         
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.

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.


         
If you know from whence you came, there are absolutely no limitations on where you can go.

If you know from whence you came, there are absolutely no limitations on where you can go.


         
I met a lot of people in Europe. I even encountered myself.

I met a lot of people in Europe. I even encountered myself.


         
You know and I know that the country is celebrating one hundred years of freedom one hundred years too early. We cannot be free until they are free.

You know and I know that the country is celebrating one hundred years of freedom one hundred years too early. We cannot be free until they are free.


         
Ain't no such thing as a little fault or a big fault. Satan get his foot in the door, he ain't going to rest till he's in the room. You is in the Word or you ain't--ain't no halfway with God.

Ain't no such thing as a little fault or a big fault. Satan get his foot in the door, he ain't going to rest till he's in the room. You is in the Word or you ain't--ain't no halfway with God.


         
You can not describe anything without betraying your point of view, your aspirations, your fears, your hopes. Everything.

You can not describe anything without betraying your point of view, your aspirations, your fears, your hopes. Everything.


         
And here I was, left with only myself to deal with. It was entirely up to me.

And here I was, left with only myself to deal with. It was entirely up to me.


         
I do a lot of rewriting. It’s very painful.

I do a lot of rewriting. It’s very painful.