The Fire Next Time [Wikipedia Link] was my first book by James Baldwin. It is kinda sad that I discovered him this late. But I am happy I eventually did and The Fire Next Time was my first.
It was also my last book for 2020.
It blew my mind in many ways with its wisdom and insights into black Christian [religious] movements and race in the US.
Here are some quotes I treasure:
Well, he is dead, he never saw you, and he had a terrible life; he was defeated long before he died because, at the bottom of his heart, he really believed what white people said about him. This is one of the reasons that he became so holy.
You can only be destroyed by believing that you really are what the white world calls a nigger.
Well, the black man has functioned in the white man’s world as a fixed star, as an immovable pillar: and as he moves out of his place, heaven and earth are shaken to their foundations.
What others did was their responsibility, for which they would answer when the judgment trumpet sounded. But what I did was my responsibility, and I would have to answer, too
One cannot argue with anyone’s experience or decision or belief.
How can one, however, dream of power in any other terms than in the symbols of power?
If one is permitted to treat any group of people with special disfavor because of their race or the color of their skin, there is no limit to what one will force them to endure, and, since the entire race has been mysteriously indicted, no reason not to attempt to destroy it root and branch.
Whoever debases others is debasing himself.
White Americans find it as difficult as white people elsewhere do to divest themselves of the notion that they are in possession of some intrinsic value that black people need, or want.