36 Most Powerful James Baldwin Quotes On Life & Equality

36 Most Powerful James Baldwin Quotes On Life & Equality
SF Castro James Baldwin plaque (1225) by DB's travels is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

James Arthur Baldwin was born on August 2, 1924, in Harlem, New York. He was an American essayist, novelist, and playwright who was known for his works that themed about humanity, masculinity, spirituality, sexuality, and race. Through his work, he became an important voice of the American civil rights movement and gay liberation movement in the mid-twentieth century. 

Baldwin published his first and finest novel in 1953 entitled “Go Tell It on the Mountain”, receiving acclaim for his insight on race and humanity. His other novels included, Another Country, Just Above my Head, Giovanni’s Room, and his other essays like Notes of the Native Son, and The Fire Next Time.

James Baldwin Quotes

“Painters have often taught writers how to see.”

JAMES BALDWIN, The Paris Review, The Art of Fiction No. 78, Issue 91, Spring 1984

“My face is like a face you have seen many times.”

JAMES BALDWIN, Giovanni’s Room, ch. 1
“For nothing is more unbearable, once one has it, than freedom.”

“Do I really want to be integrated into a burning house?”

JAMES BALDWIN, The Fire Next Time

“People are trapped in history and history is trapped in them.”

JAMES BALDWIN, Notes of a Native Son (1955)

“A writer has to take all the risks of putting down what he sees.”

JAMES BALDWIN, Conversations with James Baldwin (ed. Univ Pr of Mississippi, 1989)
“Neither love nor terror makes one blind: indifference makes one blind.”

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

JAMES BALDWIN, Notes of a Native Son (ed. 1964)

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

JAMES BALDWIN, Giovanni’s Room (1956)

“A man’s balance depends on the weight he carries between his legs.”

JAMES BALDWIN, Collected Essays (ed. 1998)
“The hope of the world lies in what one demands, not of others, but of oneself.”

“To act is to be committed, and to be committed is to be in danger.”

JAMES BALDWIN, Vintage Baldwin (ed. Vintage, 2004) – ISBN: 9781400033942

“You want to write a sentence as clean as a bone. That is the goal.”

JAMES BALDWIN, Conversations with James Baldwin (ed. 1989)

“You never get the book you wanted, you settle for the book you get.”

JAMES BALDWIN, The Paris Review, The Art of Fiction No. 78, Issue 91, Spring 1984
“Every form is difficult, no one is easier than another. They all kick your ass.”

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

JAMES BALDWIN, Early Novels and Stories (ed. 1998)

“All I know about music is that not many people ever really hear it.”

JAMES BALDWIN, Vintage Baldwin (ed. Vintage, 2004) – ISBN: 9781400033942

“If you really want to know something about solitude, become famous.”

JAMES BALDWIN, Conversations with James Baldwin (ed. 1989)
“If all you want to do is make money, the very last thing you need is imagination.”

“I’m going to have my baby and I’m going to bring him up to be a man.”

JAMES BALDWIN, Go Tell It on the Mountain, pt. 2 [Esther]

“Color is not a human or a personal reality it is a political reality.”

JAMES BALDWIN, Collected Essays (ed. 1998)
“You don’t need numbers; you need passion, and this is proven by the history of the world!”

“You don’t realize that you’re intelligent until it gets you into trouble.”

JAMES BALDWIN, Interview with Julius Lester, “James Baldwin: Reflections of a Maverick” in The New York Times (27 May 1984)

“The American idea of racial progress is measured by how fast I become white.”

JAMES BALDWIN, The Cross of Redemption: Uncollected Writings (ed. Vintage, 2010) – ISBN: 9780307378965

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

JAMES BALDWIN, Quoted in Toni Morrison, James Baldwin: His Voice Remembered; Life in His Language. New York Times Book Review (December 20, 1987)
“If you think too far ahead, if you even try to think too far ahead, you’ll never make it.”

“When you’re writing you’re trying to find out something which you don’t know.”

JAMES BALDWIN, Conversations with James Baldwin (ed. Univ Pr of Mississippi, 1989)

“The most dangerous creation of any society is that man who has nothing to lose.”

JAMES BALDWIN, The Fire Next Time (1963)

“People are too various to be treated so lightly. I am too various to be trusted.”

JAMES BALDWIN, Giovanni’s Room (ed. Vintage, 2013) – ISBN: 9780345806574
“Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.”

“No people come into possession of a culture without having paid a heavy price for it.”

JAMES BALDWIN, Notes of a Native Son (ed. 1964)

“Love him and let him love you. Do you think anything else under heaven really matters?”

JAMES BALDWIN, Giovanni’s Room (ed. Vintage, 2013) – ISBN: 9780345806574

“The world is before you and you need not take it or leave it as it was when you came in.”

JAMES BALDWIN, Collected Essays (ed. 1998)
“Anyone who has ever struggled with poverty knows how extremely expensive it is to be poor.”

“The responsibility of a writer is to excavate the experience of the people who produced him.”

JAMES BALDWIN, A Dialogue
“The root function of language is to control the universe by describing it.”

If you liked our selection of 40 Most Powerful James Baldwin Quotes On Life, then perhaps you would also enjoy 35 Excellent Quotes by Aristotle on Life, Education & Politics.

Turtle's Quotes

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: