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Tag Archives: James Baldwin

“Americans, unhappily, have the most remarkable ability to alchemize all bitter truths into an innocuous but piquant confection and to transfrom their moral contradictions, or public disussion of such contradictions, into a proud decoration, such as are given for heroism on the field of battle.”

– James Baldwin, Notes of a Native Son

“The man does not remmeber the hand that struck him, the darkness that frigthened him, as a child; nevertheless, the hand and the darkness remains with him, indivisible from himself forever, part of the passion that drives him wherever he thinks to take flight.”

– James Baldwin, Notes of a Native Son

“…the general desire seems to be to make it blank if one cannot make it white. when it has become blank, the past as throoughly washed from the black face as it has been from ours, our guilt will be finished – at least it will have ceased to be visible, which we imagine to be much the same thing.”

– James Baldwin, Notes of a Native Son

“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 – which attitude certainly has a great deal to support it. On the other hand, it is only because the world looks on his talent with such a frightnening indifference that the artist is compelled to make his talent important. So that any writer, looking back over even so short a I am here forced to assess, finds that the things which hurt him and the things which helped him cannot be divorced from each other; he could be helped in a certain way only because he was hurt in a certain way; and his help is simply to be enabled to move from one conundrum to the next…”

– James Baldwin, Collected Essays

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

– James Baldwin