James Baldwin Quote

“Freedom is not something that can be given. Freedom is something people take, and people are as free as they want to be.”

~ James Baldwin

Ratings and Comments

Mike, Norwalk

I don't know that freedom or liberty can be measured accurately with a give and take but rather an 'IS' or "IS NOT'.

  • Reply
EGL, LA    5/17/07

Knowing well Baldwin's work, this articulates his idea that the self actualized life is the only ture freedom and liberation.

Joe, Rochester, MI

It 'IS' by defending it, taking it, doing something to preserve it ... otherwise you end up with 'IS NOT'. If you don't stand up for it, demonstrating it is something of value to you, government is more than willing to take it from you.

Robert, Sarasato

The idea is beautiful but not reality - If you have that thought while being tortured in a dungeon, a concentration camp, being captured by the janjaweed, or any other horrific situation for which there is no escape, then all I call say is that you have the power we are all seeking. Say to a child with HIV, dying of starvation, whose parents have just been slaughtered, 'you are as free as you want to be' - we live in a world where the intellect is limited and where for the vast majority the power over mind is just a dream. We as humans have a responsability to provide our fellow beings with the condition in which freedom is liberated.

  • Reply
    Anonymous    5/17/07

    and James Baldwin should know that well

    Anonymous, Reston, VA US

    Well said Robert!

    E Archer, NYC

    Freedom is 'taken' first by declaring it -- it is never given. And then we must defend and fight for that declaration -- there is no free ride.

    Dick, Fort Worth

    Another kudos for Robert.

    warren, olathe

    You can not give freedom unless you have managed to first take it away. I assure you if it is taken from you you can only get it back if you take it back.

    rob, winder

    I think Baldwin's quote rings true.To the naysayers there will always be extreme exceptions.

    Brad Dieno, Hamilton, ON

    It is for freedom that Christ set us free. Bondage is a state of mind. You are free you just don't see that the gate is open.

    Al, DC
    • Reply
    Al, DC    4/22/20

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