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."
  • ''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.
  • ''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).
  • ''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).
  • ''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).
  • ''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).
  • ''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.
  • ''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.
  • ''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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Best Poem of June Jordan

The Talking Back Of Miss Valentine Jones: Poem # One

well I wanted to braid my hair
bathe and bedeck my
self so fine
so fully aforethought for
your pleasure
see:
I wanted to travel and read
and runaround fantastic
into war and peace:
I wanted to
surf
dive
fly
climb
conquer
and be conquered
THEN
I wanted to pickup the phone
and find you asking me
if I might possibly be alone
some night
(so I could answer cool
as the jewels I would wear
on bareskin for you
digmedaddy delectation:)
"WHEN
you comin ova?"
But I had to remember to write down
margarine on the ...

Read the full of The Talking Back Of Miss Valentine Jones: Poem # One

July 4, 1974

Washington, D.C.

At least it helps me to think about my son
a Leo/born to us
(Aries and Cancer) some
sixteen years ago
in St. John’s Hospital next to the Long Island
Railroad tracks
Atlantic Avenue/Brooklyn

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