Essayist. Activist. Visionary. Playwright. Queer, Black Man. Revolutionary. James Baldwin is all of this and more. Some fall in love with his characters and others find solace in his righteous anger but the one thing we all have in common is a reverence for the way he uses prose to shift consciousness. Best known forNotes of a Native Son, If Beale Street Could Talk, and The Fire Next Time, Baldwin’s words and full portrayals of Black characters gave wind to a Black consciousness movement of the late 20th century and remain timeless portals into understanding race, sexuality, and the thirst for justice.
Below are 75 quotes pulled from essays, interviews, speeches, letters, and novels by James Baldwin. Curated and woven to tell the story of Baldwin’s life, you will watch his politicization and feel as though they were written today. Whether you are new to his work or are looking for a way to make sense of today’s racial justice uprisings, I know the quotes below will give you food for both thought and action.