America is as much a black country as a white one. The lives and destinies of the white American are bound up inextricably with those of the black American.
The black artist’s role in America is to aid in the destruction of America as he knows it.
My own thinking has evolved. You find Africanisms in American speech. You find an African influence on United States culture. There are all kinds of Africanisms in America, as you would expect, if you really thought about it… That whole thing is much broader; the influence is much broader than I first understood.
To name something is to wait for it in the place you think it will pass.
The major poets of New Jersey have all suffered, whether it’s Whitman, who lost his job for ‘Leaves of Grass,’ or William Carlos Williams, who was called a communist, or Ginsberg, whose ‘Howl’ was prosecuted, or myself. If you practise poetry the way I think it needs to be done, you’re going to put yourself in jeopardy.
We should understand the impact that Malcolm had on the whole of American society.
Howard University shocked me into realizing how desperately sick the Negro could be, how he could be led into self-destruction, and how he would not realize that it was the society that had forced him into a great sickness.
God has been replaced, as he has all over the West, with respectability and air conditioning.
A rich man told me recently that a liberal is a man who tells other people what to do with their money.
Jimmy Baldwin was the creator of contemporary American speech even before Americans could dig that. He created it so we could speak to each other at unimaginable intensities of feeling, so we could make sense to each other at yet higher and higher tempos.