Love does not begin and end the way we seem to think it does. Love is a battle, love is a war; love is a growing up. James Baldwin on Love
Love takes off masks that we fear we cannot live without and know we cannot live within.
People can cry much easier than they can change.
Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.
It is very nearly impossible... to become an educated person in a country so distrustful of the independent mind.
Be careful what you set your heart upon -- for it will surely be yours.
Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them.
The primary distinction of the artist is that he must actively cultivate that state which most men, necessarily, must avoid: the state of being alone.
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.
Anyone who has struggled with poverty knows how extremely expensive it is to be poor.
The price one pays for pursuing any profession, or calling, is an immediate knowledge of its ugly side.
The paradox of education is precisely this -- that as one begins to become conscious one begins to examine the society in which he is being educated.
You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read. 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.
An identity would seem to be arrived at by the way in which the person faces and uses his experience.
It is a very rare man who does not victimize the helpless.
I love America more than any other country in the world and, exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually.
There is a sanctity involved with bringing a child into this world: it is better than bombing one out of it.
There is never time in the future in which we will work out our salvation.
The challenge is in the moment; the time is always now.
We have all had the experience of finding that our reactions and perhaps even our deeds have denied beliefs we thought were ours.
Rage cannot be hidden, it can only be dissembled.
This dissembling deludes the thoughtless, and strengthens rage and adds, to rage, contempt.
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.
Experience that destroys innocents also leads one back to it.
The American ideal, after all, is that everyone should be as much alike as possible.
Everything in life depends on how that life accepts its limits.
When the book comes out it may hurt you -- but in order for me to do it, it had to hurt me first. I can only tell you about yourself as much as I can face about myself.
When one begins to live by habit and by quotation, one has begun to stop living.
It is certain, in any case, that ignorance, allied with power, is the most ferocious enemy justice can have.
The responsibility of a writer is to excavate the experience of the people who produced him.
Money, it turned out, was exactly like sex, you thought of nothing else if you didn't have it and thought of other things if you did.
The future is... black.
But the relationship of morality and power is a very subtle one.
Because ultimately power without morality is no longer power.
Fires can't be made with dead embers, nor can enthusiasm be stirred by spiritless men. Enthusiasm in our daily work lightens effort and turns even labor into pleasant tasks.
Any writer, I suppose, feels that the world into which he was born is nothing less than a conspiracy against the cultivation of his talent.
Experience is a private, and a very largely speechless affair.
To act is to be committed, and to be committed is to be in danger.
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.
Most of us are about as eager to be changed as we were to be born, and go through our changes in a similar state of shock.
The making of an American begins at the point where he himself rejects all other ties, any other history, and himself adopts the vesture of his adopted land.
Know from whence you came. If you know whence you came, there are absolutely no limitations to where you can go.
Love takes off the masks we fear we cannot live without and know we cannot live within.
Confronted with the impossibility of remaining faithful to one's beliefs, and the equal impossibility of becoming free of them, one can be driven to the most inhuman excesses.
I love America more than any other country in this world, and, exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually.
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.
Voyagers discover that the world can never be larger than the person that is in the world; but it is impossible to foresee this, it is impossible to be warned.
A platitude is simply a truth repeated till people get tired of hearing it.
No one is more dangerous than he who imagines himself pure in heart: for his purity, by definition, is unassailable.
Nakedness has no color: this can come as news only to those who have never covered, or been covered by, another naked human being.
It is only in his music, which Americans are able to admire because a protective sentimentality limits their understanding of it, that the Negro in America has been able to tell his story.
Education is indoctrination if you're white - subjugation if you're black.
Pessimists are the people who have no hope for themselves or for others.
Pessimists are also people who think the human race is beneath their notice, that they're better than other human beings.