Thoughts to Ponder Courtesy of James Baldwin

I remember the first thing I ever read by him was the anecdote, Stranger in the Village, in my AP English class in High School. I fell in love with his writing style. Then I read Native Son in college and started to seek out other work by this great man. Here are a couple of my favorite quotes by him:

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

Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.

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.

The question of sexual dominance can exist only in the nightmare of that soul which has armed itself, totally, against the possibility of the changing motion of conquest and surrender, which is love.

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.

16 comments

Da Vinci The Verbal Arteest December 26, 2008 at 10:33 AM

Those are some mighty good quotes u got there.

Lina December 26, 2008 at 10:50 AM

Love Mr. Baldwin. I especially enjoyed The Fire Next Time. The man is profound though, especially that last quote.

Charles December 26, 2008 at 11:04 AM

My man was dropping serious knowledge wasn't he? I love that line about being a writer....I've thought the same way several times...even though I'm technically not a writer.

clnmike December 26, 2008 at 2:37 PM

Those are great quotes.

He was one of America's best writers.

Tuotierugif >^..^<© December 26, 2008 at 5:17 PM

I remember when my English teacher turned me on to Mr. Baldwin, I will forever be thankful :)

Kayos December 26, 2008 at 7:42 PM

All those old black Renaissance writers had some of the most insightful minds.

I especially love the one about love and masks.

Truth. Truth.

A.M. December 26, 2008 at 11:48 PM

Wow I love the second one about change. It speaks the truth. I've read some of his work as well through out the yrs as an english major especially in an african american lit course I took. For some reason I always wanna mix him up with richard wright :)

Its such a shame that I haven't read native son though. I've gotta get around to it.

Keith December 27, 2008 at 12:24 AM

We Bloggers have the potential to be the next renaissance movemant of black writers..We have a brand new medium here...We should caapitalize on it, just like James Baldwin ,Richard Wright,Zora Neale
Hurston and the others did.

Eb the Celeb December 27, 2008 at 8:03 AM

@AM - Yeah I love Richard Wright too. I read his Native Son as well. I probably should have put the entire title of Baldwin's work so people wouldn't think I was an idiot but I couldn't think of it when I was writing and was too lazy to look it up but I just did since you called me on it. The full title of Baldwin's is "Notes of a Native Son." I knew it was where my AP english teacher got the short story I read and wanted to read more short stories by him. It was a collection of them.

Urban Thought December 27, 2008 at 7:05 PM

Did you pull those from memory?

My aunt used to read a couple of his books to me in my younger years. I'd say, after reading your post I need to pick up one of his books an refresh the mind.

Eb the Celeb December 27, 2008 at 7:24 PM

@Urban Thought - lol...no.. I knew 3 of them but not verbatim so I looked them up... while looking them up I fell in love with the other two

Martha.... December 27, 2008 at 8:34 PM

The world needs more people like this....

Aretha December 27, 2008 at 11:51 PM

I love James Baldwin. I used to be in a book club that adored him.

Some of my favorites from him include:

"If the relationship of father to son could really be reduced to biology, the whole earth would blaze with the glory of fathers and sons."

"We have all had the experience of finding that our reactions and perhaps even our deeds have denied beliefs we thought were ours."

"When one begins to live by habit and by quotation, one has begun to stop living. "

Those are just a few...His work is marvelous.

Eb the Celeb December 28, 2008 at 7:45 AM

@Aretha - Those are some great quotes too... I especially love the last one.

Help keep this site up and running


and be sure to follow @thegirthpodcast instagram for hilarious sex memes and on twitter episode highlights and daily sex articles.

My Renaissance People aka Blog Subscribers