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Tag Archives: The Fire Next Time

“I do not mean to be sentimental about suffering – enough is certainly as good as a feast – but people who cannot suffer can never grow up, can never discover who they are. That man who is forced each day to snatch his manhood, his identity, out of the fire of human cruelty that rages to destroy it knows, if he survives his effort, and even if he does not survive it, something about himself and human that no school on earth – and, indeed, no church – can teach. He achieves his own authority, and that is unshakable. This is because, in order to save his life, he is forced to look beneath appearances, to take nothing for granted, to hear the meaning behind the words.”

– James Baldwin, The Fire Next Time

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“…a civilization is not destroyed by wicked people; it is not necessary that people be wicked but only that they be spineless.”

– James Baldwin, The Fire Next Time

“The vision people hold of the world to come is but a reflection, with predictable wishful distortions, of the world in which they live.”

– James Baldwin, The Fire Next Time

“The word ‘safety’ brings us to the real meaning of the world ‘religious’ as we use it.”

– James Baldwin, The Fire Next Time