• Perhaps the whole root of our trouble, the human trouble, is that we will sacrifice all the beauty of our lives, will imprison ourselves in totems, taboos, crosses, blood sacrifices, steeples, mosques, races, armies, flags, nations, in order to deny the fact of death, the only fact we have. It seems to me that one ought to rejoice in the fact of death - ought to decide, indeed, to earn one's death by confronting with passion the conundrum of life.

    "Letter from a Region of My Mind". The New Yorker, November 17, 1962. Republished in "The Fire Next Time" by James Baldwin as "Down at the Cross: Letter from a Region in My Mind", 1963.