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James Baldwin Quotes

42 of the best book quotes from James Baldwin
  1. #1
    “Then they all came together again, and Sonny was part of the family again.”
  2. #2
    “He and Sonny hadn’t ever got on too well. And this was partly because Sonny was the apple of his father’s eye. It was because he loved Sonny so much and was frightened for him, that he was always fighting for him.”
  3. #3
    “I couldn’t believe it: but what I mean by that is that I couldn’t find any room for it anywhere inside of me. I had kept it outside me for a long time. I hadn’t wanted to know.”
  4. #4
    “He hopes that the hand which stokes his forehead will never stop – will never die. He hopes that there will never come a time when the old folks won’t be sitting around the living room, talking about where they’ve come from, and what they’ve seen, and what’s happened to them and their kinfolk.”
  5. #5
    “You got to hold on to your brother . . . and don’t let him fall, no matter what it looks like is happening and no matter how evil you gets with him.”
  6. #6
    ″ . . . As I covertly studied Sonny’s face, it came to me that what we both were seeking through our separate cab windows was the part of ourselves which had been left behind.”
  7. #7
    “I’d never played the role of older brother quite so seriously before, had scarcely ever . . . I sensed myself in the presence of something I didn’t really know how to handle, didn’t understand.”
  8. #8
    “Yet, it was clear that, for them, I was only Sonny’s brother. Here, I was in Sonny’s world. Or rather: his kingdom. Here, it was not even a question that his veins bore royal blood.”
  9. #9
    “For, while the tale of how we suffer, and how we are delighted, and how we may triumph is never new, it always must be heard. There isn’t any other tale to tell, it’s the only light we’ve got in all this darkness.”
  10. #10
    “Yet, when he smiled, when we shook hands, the baby brother I’d never known looked out from the depths of his private life, like an animal waiting to be coaxed into the light.”
  1. #11
    “We live in a housing project. It hasn’t been up long. A few days after it was up it seemed uninhabitably new, now, of course, it’s already run down.”
  2. #12
    “But houses exactly like the houses of our past yet dominated the landscape, boys exactly like the boys we once had been found themselves smothering in these houses, came down into the streets for light and air and found themselves encircled by disaster.”
  3. #13
    “The beat-looking grass lying around isn’t enough to make their lives green, the hedges will never hold out the streets, and they know it.”
  4. #14
    “And I was yet aware that this was only a moment, that the world waited outside, as hungry as a tiger, and that trouble stretched above us, longer than the sky.”
  5. #15
    “These boys, now, were living as we’d been living then, they were growing up with a rush and their heads bumped abruptly against the low ceiling of their actual possibilities.”
  6. #16
    “The darkness outside is what the old folks have been talking about. It’s what they’ve come from. It’s what they endure. The child knows that they won’t talk any more because if he knows too much about what’s happened to them, he’ll know too much too soon, about what’s going to happen to him.”
  7. #17
    “No there’s no way not to suffer. But you try all kinds of ways to keep from drowning in it, to keep on top of it, and to make it seem—well, like, you. Like you did something, all right, and now you’re suffering for it.”
  8. #18
    “I feel like a man who’s been trying to climb up out of some deep, real deep and funky hole and just saw the sun up there, outside. I got to get outside.”
  9. #19
    “They certainly couldn’t throw him out. Neither did they dare to make a great scene about that piano because even they dimly sensed, as I sensed, from so many thousands of miles away, that Sonny was at that piano playing for his life.”
  10. #20
    “When I saw him many things I thought I had forgotten came flooding back to me. This was because I had begun, finally, to wonder about Sonny, about the life that Sonny lived inside.”

Books about love

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More Than Balloons book
Board book
6.2
The Rag Coat book
Picture book
6.1
Three Little Words book
Picture book
6.0
Spot Loves His Daddy book
Board book
6.0
Penguin and Pinecone book
Board book
6.0
The Trumpet of the Swan book
Chapter book
6.0
All the Places to Love book
Picture book
6.0
Wherever You Are book
Picture book
5.9
  1. #21
    “We cannot be free until they are free.”
  2. #22
    “But it was a criminal power, to be feared but not respected.”
  3. #23
    “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.”
  4. #24
    “White people cannot, in the generality, be taken as models of how to live.”
  5. #25
    “Furthermore, I have met only a very few people—and most of these were not Americans—who had any real desire to be free. Freedom is hard to bear.”
  6. #26
    “Negroes do not, strictly or legally speaking, exist in any other [country]. ”
  7. #27
    “And now you must survive because we love you, and for the sake of your children and your children’s children.”
  8. #28
    “This is why the most dangerous creation of any society is that man who has nothing to lose. You do not need ten such men—one will do. And Elijah, I should imagine, has had nothing to lose since the day he saw his father’s blood rush out—rush down, and splash, so the legend has it, down through the leaves of a tree, on him.”
  9. #29
    “You can only be destroyed by believing that you really are what the white world calls a nigger.”
  10. #30
    “The really terrible thing, old buddy, is that you must accept them.”
  1. #31
    “Neither civilized reason nor Christian love would cause any of those people to treat you as they presumably wanted to be treated; only the fear of your power to retaliate would cause them to do that, or seem to do it, which was (and is) good enough.”
  2. #32
    “Whoever debases others is debasing himself.”
  3. #33
    “And if the word integration means anything, this is what it means: that we, with love, shall force our brothers to see themselves as they are, to cease fleeing from reality and begin to change it.”
  4. #34
    “And when I sat at Elijah’s table and watched the baby, the women, and the men, and we talked about God’s—or Allah’s—vengeance, I wondered, when that vengeance was achieved, What will happen to all that beauty then?”
  5. #35
    “That summer, in any case, all the fears with which I had grown up, and which were now a part of me and controlled my vision of the world, rose up like a wall between the world and me, and drove me into the church.”
  6. #37
    “The person who distrusts himself has no touchstone for reality. ”
  7. #38
    “If God cannot do this, then it is time we got rid of Him.”
  8. #39
    “One can give freedom only by setting someone free. ”
  9. #40
    “Do I really want to be integrated into a burning house? ”
  10. #41
    “Black has become a beautiful color—not because it is loved ... because it is feared.”
  11. #42
    “Color is not a human or a personal reality; it is a political reality.”

Books about home

View All
The House That Jane Built book
Picture book
6.0
Home book
Picture book
5.9
Make Way for Ducklings book
Picture book
5.8
Little Home Bird book
Picture book
5.8
Edmund Unravels book
Picture book
5.7
A True Home book
Chapter book
5.5
Book Topics › brothers
Bright Children's Books About Brothers
Book Topics › freedom
Children's Books About Freedom

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