June Jordan

(9 July 1936 - 14 June 2002 / United States)

June Jordan Quotes

  • ''... 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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  • ''If we lived in a democratic state our language would have to hurtle, fly, curse, and sing, in all the common American names, all the undeniable and representative and participating voices of everybody here.''
    June Jordan (b. 1936), African American poet and social critic. On Call, ch. 4 (1985). Written in 1982, on schools' and other social institutions' insistence upon "standard English."
    13 person liked.
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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.
    24 person liked.
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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).
    13 person liked.
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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).
    9 person liked.
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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).
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  • ''The purpose of polite behavior is never virtuous. Deceit, surrender, and concealment: these are not virtues. The goal of the mannerly is comfort, per se.''
    June Jordan (b. 1939), U.S. poet, civil rights activist. repr. In Moving Towards Home: Political Essays (1989). "Civil Wars," (1981).
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  • ''I can't think of a single supposedly Black issue that hasn't wasted the original Black target group and then spread like the measles to outlying white experience.''
    June Jordan (b. 1936), African American poet, essayist, and social critic. On Call, ch. 4 (1985). Written in 1982, with reference to such problems as drug abuse and unwed teenage pregnancy.
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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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  • ''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.
    5 person liked.
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Best Poem of June Jordan

Jim Crow: The Sequel

An angry Black woman on the subject of the angry White man:

We didn't always need affirmative action
When we broke this crazy land into farms
when we planted and harvested the crops
when we dug into the earth for water
when we carried that water into the
big house kitchens and bedrooms
when we built that big house
when we fed and clothed other people's
children with food we cooked and
served to other people's children, wearing
the garments that we fitted and we sewed
together, when we hacked and hauled
huge trees for lumber and fuel, when we
washed...

Read the full of Jim Crow: The Sequel

A Song For Soweto

At the throat of Soweto
a devil language falls
slashing
claw syllables to shred and leave
raw
the tongue of the young
girl
learning to sing
her own name

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