30+ Famous James Baldwin Quotes on Love, Life, and Equality


Inspiring Quotes By James Baldwin

Commemorating an advocate for equality, love, and freedom. Here are some James Baldwin quotes that encapsulate inspiring thoughts about life and help us bring closer to humanity.

James Baldwin ( (August 2, 1924 – December 1, 1987) was an eminent author and activist who had enduring ideas about society and liberty. His plays, essays, and novels offered a thoughtful analysis of race and identity in America. Some of his finest works include No Name in the Street (1972), The Fire Next Time (1963), and The Devil Finds Work (1973).

He spent his life facing discrimination for his race, sexuality, and upbringing, but it still didn’t stop him from actively using his voice to inspire millions to fight for change. So, in order to celebrate his legacy and words of wisdom, below are some James Baldwin quotes and sayings.

Related: 50+ Bob Marley Quotes That Will Change Your Perspective Of Life

30 + James Baldwin Quotes And Sayings

James Baldwin was an influential and creative author, and these quotes truly express his wisdom and thought process.

Best James Baldwin Quotes On Love

1. “If love will not swing wide the gates, no other power will or can.”

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

3. “Love does not begin and end the way we seem to think it does. Love is a battle, love is a war; love is growing up.”

Love does not begin and end the way we seem to think it does

4. The trick is to love somebody… If you love one person, you see everybody else differently.

The trick is to love somebody

5. “Neither love nor terror makes one blind: indifference makes one blind.”

Neither love nor terror makes one blind

6. “Love him and let him love you. Do you think anything else under heaven really matters?”

7. “The face of a lover is unknown, precisely because it is invested with so much of oneself. It is a mystery, containing, like all mysteries, the possibility of torment.”

8. “We can disagree and still love each other unless your disagreement is rooted in my oppression and denial of my humanity and right to exist.”

Related: 10 Unforgettable ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ Quotes That Still Hold True

Inspirational James Baldwin Quotes About Freedom

9.  “Freedom is not something that anybody can be given; freedom is something people take and people are as free as they want to be.”

Freedom is not something that anybody can be given

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

11. “Trust life, and it will teach you, in joy and sorrow, all you need to know.”

12. “I’ve always believed that you can think positive just as well as you can think negative.”

13. “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.”

14. “The purpose of education…is to create in a person the ability to look at the world for himself, to make his own decisions.”

15. “Precisely at the point when you begin to develop a conscience, you must find yourself at war with your society.”

16. “You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read.”

17. “For nothing is more unbearable, once one has it, than freedom.”

18. “Perhaps the turning point in one’s life is realising that to be treated like a victim is not necessary to become one.”

Related: 7 Inspirational Quotes By Michelle Obama That Will Motivate You

Famous James Baldwin Quotes On Identity

19. “From my point of view, no label, no slogan, no party, no skin colour, and indeed no religion is more important than the human being.”

20. “Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them.”

21. “Experience, which destroys innocence, also leads one back to it.”

22. “Anyone who has ever struggled with poverty knows how extremely expensive it is to be poor.”

23. “People can cry much easier than they can change.”

24. “I can’t believe what you say, because I see what you do.”

I cant believe what you say

25. “The most dangerous creation of any society is the man who has nothing to lose.”

The most dangerous creation of any society

26. “A liberal: someone who thinks he knows more about your experience than you do.”

A liberal someone who thinks he knows more

27. “You have to decide who you are and force the world to deal with you, not with its idea of you.”

28. “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.”

James Baldwin Quotes
30+ Famous Quotes By James Baldwin

Related: 25+ Inspiring Will Smith Quotes About Life That You Must Read

Famous James Baldwin Quotes on Life and Equality

29. “People are trapped in history and history is trapped in them.”

30. “If I am not what you say I am, then you are not who you think you are.”

31. “You write in order to change the world … if you alter, even by a millimetre, the way people look at reality, then you can change it.”

32. “To have a conversation with someone, you must reveal yourself.”

To have a conversation with someone

33. “The questions which one asks oneself begin, at least, to illuminate the world and become one’s key to the experience of others.”

34. “I often wonder what I’d do if there weren’t any books in the world.”

35. “The mind is like an object that picks up dust. The object doesn’t know, any more than the mind does, why what clings to it clings.”

36. “People can’t, unhappily, invent their mooring posts, their lovers, and their friends, any more than they can invent their parents. Life gives these and also takes them away and the great difficulty is to say ‘Yes’ to life.”

Related: 50 Inspiring Martin Luther King Jr. Quotes On Peace, Love and Equality

In today’s world race, identity and love are equally important. We hope that these quotes from James Baldwin have a deep impact on your life perspectives. Which among these famous James Baldwin quotes is your favourite? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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