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29 Unforgettable James Baldwin Quotes About Humanity

This selection James Baldwin quotes is intended to remind you that no matter who you are and no matter what obstacles you face, you are a gift to this world.

Baldwin, a prolific writer and social critic, was a voice for humanity and those who were and are discriminated against. He brought to light many subjects we still struggle with today.

A victim of racism himself, Baldwin was determined to shine a light on our humanity through his work and his message. We are all valuable, divine beings deserving of and worthy of love, abundance and joy.

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James Baldwin Quotes About Work

The price one pays for pursuing any profession or calling is an intimate knowledge of its ugly side.

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

Those who say it can’t be done are usually interrupted by others doing it.

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

James Baldwin Quotes — You are Worthy

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.

You have to decide who you are and force the world to deal with you, not with its idea of you.

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.

Everyone wishes to be loved, but in the event, nearly no one can bear it. Everyone desires love but also finds it impossible to believe that he deserves it.

James Baldwin Quotes About Justice

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

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.

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

James Baldwin Quotes About Haters

I imagine one of the reasons people cling to their hates so stubbornly is because they sense, once hate is gone, they will be forced to deal with pain.

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

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.

Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them.

Whoever debases others is debasing himself

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 Quotes About Personal Struggles

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portrait of James Baldwin with the statue of Shakespeare Albert Memorial

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.

You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read.

Anyone who has ever struggled with poverty knows how extremely expensive it is to be poor.

James Baldwin Quotes About Love

Love takes off the masks we fear we cannot live without and know we cannot live within.

Neither love nor terror makes one blind: indifference makes one blind.

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.

Love does not begin and end the way we seem to think it does. Love is a battle. Love is a war. Love is growing up.

People can’t, unhappily, invent their mooring posts, their lovers and their friends, any more than they can invent their parents. Life gives these and also takes them away and the great difficulty is to say ‘Yes’ to life.

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.

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

James Baldwin Quotes About the Mind

Confusion is a luxury which only the very, very young can possibly afford and you are not that young anymore.

Trust life, and it will teach you, in joy and sorrow, all you need to know.

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