James Arthur “Jimmy” Baldwin (August 2, 1924 – December 1, 1987) was an American writer and social critic. His essays, as collected in Notes of a Native Son (1955), explore palpable yet unspoken intricacies of racial, sexual, and class distinctions in Western societies, most notably in mid-20th-century America. Some of Baldwin’s essays are book-length, for instance, The Fire Next Time (1963), No Name in the Street (1972), and The Devil Finds Work (1976). An unfinished manuscript, Remember This House, was expanded upon and adapted for cinema as the Academy Award-nominated documentary film I Am Not Your Negro.
“Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.”
“The paradox of education is precisely this – that as one begins to become conscious one begins to examine the society in which he is being educated.”
“Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them.”
From Wikipedia and pbs.org
“What isn’t said is as important as what is said.”
“Write what you know.”
“I’m just trying to keep things rich for me creatively and for the readers who follow me.”
“Early in my career, I figured out that I just have to write the book I have to write at that moment. Whatever else is going on in the culture is just not that important. If you could get the culture to write your book, that would be great. But the culture can’t write your book.”
James Mercer Langston Hughes – an American poet, social activist, novelist, playwright, and columnist from Joplin, Missouri. He was one of the earliest innovators of the then-new literary art form called jazz poetry. Image from NYDailynews.
“I swear to the Lord I still can’t see why Democracy means Everybody but me.”
“An artist must be free to choose what he does, certainly, but he must also never be afraid to do what he might choose.”
“Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken-winged bird that cannot fly.”
“What happens to a dream deferred? Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun?… Or does it explode?”
“I have discovered in life that there are ways of getting almost anywhere you want to go, if you really want to go.”