Reflections on James Baldwin


As you might know, here at The Thirlby, we believe that feeling & being well is also being well-cultured. It is cultivating a world that also feels well, which is reflected in our resource of The Library.

Today would have been 94th birthday of James Baldwin, one of the most prolific authors, thinkers, and activists of our time. In reflection, we are leaving you with a few quotes & our recommended reads by Mr. Baldwin along with others that have shaped Black History & the Civil Rights Movement.

Quotes for Reflection

Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them.
Nothing is more desirable than to released from an affliction, but nothing is more frightening than to be divested of a crutch
— The Fire Next time
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.
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
People are trapped in history & history is trapped in them.

And some quotes that are appropriate in the continuing trying racist & anti-immigrant times

I love America more than any other country in this world, and, exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually.
The future is like heaven, everyone exalts it, but no one wants to go there now.
There is never time in the future in which we will work out our salvation. The challenge is in the moment; the time is always now.
And there are days—this is one of them—when you wonder what your role is in this country & what your future is in it
— I am not your negro

A Selection of James Baldwin's Works

"Nobody Knows My Name" by James Baldwin

"Nobody Knows My Name" by James Baldwin

                        "Giovanni's Room" by James Baldwin

                        "Giovanni's Room" by James Baldwin

     "The Fire Next Time" by James Baldwin

     "The Fire Next Time" by James Baldwin

The Upcoming Film Adaptation of "If Beale Street Could Talk"


The new "If Beale Street Could Talk" teaser based on Baldwin's work & directed by Barry Jenkins of "Moonlight"

A Selection of Critical Reads by Other Prominent Black Authors

Although this is by no means an exhaustive list, it's a list of our favourites & a good starting point for those who have not been exposed to African & African-American Literature due to our white- & white man-dominated educational curiculum.

  • "Beloved" by Toni Morrison
  • "Between the World & Me" by Ta-nehisi Coates
  • "Americanah" by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  • "The Color Purple" by Alice Walker
  • "Their Eyes Were Watching G-d" by Zora Neale Hurston
  • "Invisible Man" by Ralph Ellison
  • "Sister Outsider" by Audre Lorde
  • "Hunger" by Roxanne Gay
  • "The Souls of Black Folk" by W.E.B. DuBois
  • "The Weary Blues" by Langston Hughes
  • "Black Boy" by Richard Wright
  • "The Autobiography of Malcolm X" by Alex Haley
  • "Kindred" by Octavia Butler
  • "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings" by Maya Angelou