Today marks what would have been the 94th birthday of American author, James Baldwin. Baldwin held many titles, from novelist, to social critic, to pioneer of the LGBT community. Through his writing, including his well-known works such as Notes of a Native Son and Giovanni’s Room, Baldwin gave a voice to marginalized groups that had long gone unheard in American society, including Gay African-American men.
Though he passed away some time ago, his powerful insight into identity, sexuality, and cultural experience will continue to find resonance among readers all around the world.
Here are ten uplifting James Baldwin quotes to celebrate his life and legacy!
“Fires can’t be made with dead embers, nor can enthusiasm be stirred by spiritless men. Enthusiasm in our daily work lightens effort and turns even labor into pleasant tasks.”
“Love does not begin and end the way we seem to think it does. Love is a battle, love is a war; love is a growing up.”
“No one can possibly know what is about to happen: it is happening, each time, for the first time, for the only time.”
“Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.”
“Love takes off masks that we fear we cannot live without and know we cannot live within.”
“You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read.”
“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.”
“To be sensual, I think, is to respect and rejoice in the force of life, of life itself, and to be present in all that one does, from the effort of loving to the making of bread.”
“Everybody’s journey is individual. If you fall in love with a boy, you fall in love with a boy. The fact that many Americans consider it a disease says more about them than it does about homosexuality.”
“There are so many ways of being despicable it quite makes one’s head spin. But the way to be really despicable is to be contemptuous of other people’s pain.”
Featured Image Via Biography