35 James Baldwin quotes for Inspiration

35 James Baldwin quotes for Inspiration

James Arthur Baldwin was an American novelist, playwright, essayist, poet, and activist. James Baldwin was born August 2, 1924, in New York City, to a young single mother, Emma Jones.

Emma reportedly never told James the name of his biological father. Emma would later marry David Baldwin, a Baptist minister when James was about three years old and this is where James got his surname.


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At an early age, Baldwin developed a passion for reading and he equally demonstrated a skill for writing during his school years.

James Baldwin encountered several incidents of discrimination as an African American and this will be reflected and carefully laced into his works.

In his 1955 publication, (Notes of a Native Son), a collection of his ten essays, James explored the intricacies of racial, sexual, and class distinctions in the United States during the mid-twentieth century. James is absolutely one of the most celebrated writers among the African diaspora

Now, 35 James Baldwin quotes for Inspiration.


  1. 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.
  2. I can’t believe what you say, because I see what you do.
  3. I imagine one of the reasons people cling to their hate so stubbornly is because they sense, once hate is gone, they will be forced to deal with pain.
  4. 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.
  5. If you’re treated a certain way you become a certain kind of person.
  6. If certain things are described to you as being real they’re real for you whether they’re real or not.
  7. You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read.
  8. Hatred, which could destroy so much, never failed to destroy the man who hated, and this was an immutable law.
  9. The most dangerous creation of any society is the man who has nothing to lose.
  10. Anyone who has ever struggled with poverty knows how extremely expensive it is to be poor.
  11. Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them.
  12. Nakedness has no colour: this can come as news only to those who have never covered, or been covered by, another naked human being.
  13. Love takes off the masks we fear we cannot live without and know we cannot live within.
  14. Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.
  15. People can cry much easier than they can change.
  16. Neither love nor terror makes one blind: indifference makes one blind.
  17. Love does not begin and end the way we seem to think it does.
  18. Love is a battle. Love is a war. Love is growing up.
  19. People can’t, unhappily, invent their mooring posts, their lovers and their friends, any more than they can invent their parents.
  20. Life gives these and also takes them away and the great difficulty is to say ‘Yes’ to life.
  21. A liberal: someone who thinks he knows more about your experience than you do.
  22. All I know about music is that not many people ever really hear it.
  23. On the rare occasions when something opens within, and the music enters, what we mainly hear, or hear corroborated, are personal, private, vanishing evocations.
  24. You have to decide who you are and force the world to deal with you, not with its idea of you.
  25. 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.
  26. 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.
  27. Love him and let him love you.
  28. Do you think anything else under heaven really matters?
  29. It is certain, in any case, that ignorance, allied with power, is the most ferocious enemy justice can have.
  30. The purpose of education…is to create in a person the ability to look at the world for himself, to make his own decisions.
  31. 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.
  32. 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.
  33. Everybody’s journey is individual.
  34. 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.
  35. Precisely at the point when you begin to develop a conscience, you must find yourself at war with your society.

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