James Arthur Baldwin (August 2, 1924 – December 1, 1987) was an American novelist, essayist, playwright, poet, and social critic. His essays, as collected in Notes of a Native Son (1955), explore palpable yet unspoken intricacies of racial, sexual, and class distinctions in Western societies, most notably in mid-20th-century America, and their inevitable if unnameable tensions. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)
Anyone who has ever struggled with poverty knows how extremely expensive it is to be poor.
Beyond talent lie all the usual words: discipline, love, luck- but, most of all, endurance.
Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them.
Freedom is not something that anybody can be given; freedom is something people take and people are as free as they want to be.
I imagine that one of the reasons that people cling to their hates so stubbornly is because they sense, once hate is gone, that they will be forced to deal with the pain.
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.
I'm optimistic about the future, but not about the future of this civilization. I'm optimistic about the civilization which will replace this one.
If the concept of God has any validity or any use, it can only be to make us larger, freer, and more loving. If God cannot do this, then it is time we got rid of Him.
It is a terrible, an inexorable, law that one cannot deny the humanity of another without diminishing one's own: in the face of one's victim, one sees oneself.
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.
Nobody is more dangerous than he who imagines himself pure in heart; for his purity, by definition, is unassailable.
Not everything that is faced can be changed. But nothing can be changed until it is faced.
One can only accept in others what one can accept in oneself.
People are trapped in history and history is trapped in them.
People who shut their eyes to reality simply invite their own destruction, and anyone who insists on remaining in a state of innocence long after that innocence is dead turns himself into a monster.
The price one pays for pursuing any profession, or calling, is an intimate knowledge of its ugly side.
The responsibility of a writer is to excavate the experience of the people who produced him.
The world is before you, and you need not take it or leave it as it was when you came in.
The young think that failure is the Siberian end of the line, banishment from all the living, and tend to do what I then did- which was to hide.
Trust life, and it will teach you, in joy and sorrow, all you need to know.