Quotations From JUNE JORDAN


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  • ... the courts cannot garnish a father's salary, nor freeze his account, nor seize his property on behalf of his children, in our society. Apparently this is because a kid is not a car or a couch or a boat.
    June Jordan (b. 1936), U.S. poet, essayist, and social critic. On Call, ch. 3 (1985). Written in 1981, on the refusal of American law courts to enforce child support orders and agreements, although they did enforce installment-payment contracts. Jordan's own husband had left her and their eight-year-old child for another woman.

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  • In America, the traditional routes to black identity have hardly been normal. Suicide (disappearance by imitation, or willed extinction), violence (hysterical religiosity, crime, armed revolt), and exemplary moral courage; none of these is normal.
    June Jordan (b. 1939), U.S. poet, civil rights activist. repr. In Moving Towards Home: Political Essays (1989). Black Studies: Bringing Back the Person, Evergreen Review (Oct. 1969).

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  • As a child I was taught that to tell the truth was often painful. As an adult I have learned that not to tell the truth is more painful, and that the fear of telling the truth—whatever the truth may be—that fear is the most painful sensation of a moral life.
    June Jordan (b. 1936), U.S. poet, essayist, and social critic. On Call, ch. 10 (1985). Written in 1984.

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  • ... the victim accommodates to power. The victim doesn't want anymore [sic] trouble.
    June Jordan (b. 1936), African American poet, essayist, and social critic. On Call, ch. 4 (1985). Written in 1982.

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  • Overall, white men run America. From nuclear armaments to the filth and jeopardy of New York City subways to the cruel mismanagement of health care, is there anything to boast about?
    June Jordan (b. 1936), African American poet, essayist, and social critic. On Call, ch. 5 (1985). Written in 1982.

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  • Let me just say, at once: I am not now nor have I ever been a white man. And, leaving aside the joys of unearned privilege, this leaves me feeling pretty good ...
    June Jordan (b. 1936), African American poet and social critic. On Call, ch. 10 (1985). Written in 1984.
  • Like a lot of Black women, I have always had to invent the power my freedom requires ...
    June Jordan (b. 1936), African American poet and social critic. On Call, ch. 9 (1985). Written in 1984.

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  • I am a feminist, and what that means to me is much the same as the meaning of the fact that I am Black: it means that I must undertake to love myself and to respect myself as though my very life depends upon self-love and self-respect.
    June Jordan (b. 1939), U.S. poet, civil rights activist. Address, 1978, to the Black Writers' Conference, Howard University. "Where Is the Love?" Moving Towards Home: Political Essays (1989).

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  • We are the wrong people of the wrong skin in the wrong continent and what in the hell is everybody being reasonable about?
    June Jordan (b. 1939), U.S. poet, civil rights activist. Passion.

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  • Body and soul, Black America reveals the extreme questions of contemporary life, questions of freedom and identity: How can I be who I am?
    June Jordan (b. 1939), U.S. poet, civil rights activist. essay originally published in Evergreen Review (New York, Oct. 1969). Black Studies: Bringing Back The Person, Moving Towards Home: Political Essays (1989).

    Read more quotations about / on: identity, freedom, america, black, life
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