Quotations From JAMES BALDWIN

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  • 1.
    You know, it's not the world that was my oppressor, because what the world does to you, if the world does it to you long enough and effectively enough, you begin to do to yourself.
    James Baldwin (1924-1987), U.S. author. conversation in London, Nov. 4, 1971, with Nikki Giovanni. A Dialogue (1973).

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  • 2.
    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.
    James Baldwin (1924-1987), U.S. author. repr. in Notes of a Native Son, pt. 1 (1955). "Many Thousands Gone," Partisan Review (New Brunswick, New Jersey, Nov.-Dec. 1951).

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  • 3.
    It is a great shock at the age of five or six to find that in a world of Gary Coopers you are the Indian.
    James Baldwin (1924-1987), U.S. author. speech, Feb. 17, 1965, Cambridge Union, Cambridge University, England. New York Times Magazine (Mar. 7, 1965).

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  • 4.
    An identity would seem to be arrived at by the way in which the person faces and uses his experience.
    James Baldwin (1924-1987), U.S. author. "No Name in the Street," The Price Of The Ticket (1972, repr. 1985).

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  • 5.
    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.
    James Baldwin (1924-1987), U.S. author. repr. in Notes of a Native Son, pt. 2 (1955). "Stranger in the Village," Harper's (New York, Oct. 1953).

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  • 6.
    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.
    James Baldwin (1924-1987), U.S. author. repr. in Notes of a Native Son, pt. 2 (1955). "Stranger in the Village," Harper's (New York, Oct. 1953).
  • 7.
    Rage cannot be hidden, it can only be dissembled. This dissembling deludes the thoughtless, and strengthens rage and adds, to rage, contempt.
    James Baldwin (1924-1987), U.S. author. repr. In Notes of a Native Son (1955). "Stranger in the Village," Harper's (New York, October 1953).
  • 8.
    If they take you in the morning, they will be coming for us that night.
    James Baldwin (1924-1987), U.S. author. New York Review of Books (Jan. 7, 1971). "Open Letter to my Sister, Angela Davis."

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  • 9.
    The greatest significance of the present student generation is that it is through them that the point of view of the subjugated is finally and inexorably being expressed.
    James Baldwin (1924-1987), U.S. author. repr. In The Price of the Ticket (1985). "They Can't Turn Back," Mademoiselle (New York, Aug. 1960).
  • 10.
    The South is very beautiful but its beauty makes one sad because the lives that people live here, and have lived here, are so ugly.
    James Baldwin (1924-1987), U.S. author. repr. In The Price of the Ticket (1985). "They Can't Turn Back," Mademoiselle (New York, Aug. 1960).

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