Quotes from Going to Meet the Man

James Baldwin ·  249 pages

Rating: (3.5K votes)

“After departure, only invisible things are left, perhaps the life of the world is held together by invisible chains of memory and loss and love. So many things, so many people, depart! And we can only repossess them in our minds.”
― James Baldwin, quote from Going to Meet the Man

“Secrets hidden at the heart of midnight are simply waiting to be dragged to the light, as, on some unlucky high noon, they always are. But secrets shrouded in the glare of candor are bound to defeat even the most determined and agile inspector for the light is always changing and proves that the eye cannot be trusted.”
― James Baldwin, quote from Going to Meet the Man

“A big, sandy-haired man held his daughter on his shoulders, showing her the Statue of Liberty. I would never know what this statue meant to others, she had always been an ugly joke for me. And the American flag was flying from the top of the ship, above my head. I had seen the French flag drive the French into the most unspeakable frenzies, I had seen the flag which was nominally mine used to dignify the vilest purposes: now I would never, as long as I lived, know what other saw when they saw a flag.”
― James Baldwin, quote from Going to Meet the Man

“The sons of the masters were roaming the world, looking for arms to hold them. And the arms that might have held them--could not forgive.”
― James Baldwin, quote from Going to Meet the Man

“And her mother still struggled in these white kitchens in town, humming sweet hymns, tiny, mild eyed and bent, her father still labored on the oyster boats; after a lifetime of labor, should they drop dead tomorrow, there would not be a penny for their burial clothes.”
― James Baldwin, quote from Going to Meet the Man

“I saw my mother's face again, and felt, for the first time, how the stones of the road she had walked on must have bruised her feet. I saw the moonlit road where my father's brother died. And it brought something else back to me, and carried me past it, I saw my little girl again and felt Isabel's tears again, and I felt my own tears begin to rise. And I was yet aware that this was only a moment, that the world waited outside, as hungry as a tiger, and that trouble stretched above us, longer than the sky.”
― James Baldwin, quote from Going to Meet the Man

“There were pauses in the music for the rushing, calling, halting piano. Everything would stop except the climbing of the soloist; he would reach a height and everything would join him, the violins first and then the horns; and then the deep blue bass and the flute and the bitter trampling drums; beating, beating and mounting together and stopping with a crash like daybreak. When I first heard the Messiah I was alone; my blood bubbled like fire and wine; I cried; like an infant crying for its mother’s milk; or a sinner running to meet Jesus.”
― James Baldwin, quote from Going to Meet the Man

About the author

James Baldwin
Born place: in Harlem, New York, The United States
Born date August 2, 1924
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