Quotable: James Baldwin

A few weeks ago in my non-fiction class, we discussed James Baldwin’s Notes of a Native Son. Here is how the essay “Stranger in the Village” concludes:

One of the things that distinguishes Americans from other people is that no other people has ever been so deeply involved in the lives of black men, and vice versa. This fact faced with all its implications, it can be seen that the history of the American Negro problem is not merely shameful, it is something of an achievement. For even when the worst has been said, it must also be added that the perpetual challenge posed by this problem was always, somehow, perpetually met. It is precisely this black-white experience which may prove of indispensable value to us in the world we face today. The world is white no longer, and it will never be white again.

Published originally in Harper’s Magazine in 1953.

(Photo credit: Mottke Weissman)