June Jordan Quotes

When we heard about the hippies, the barely more than boys and girls who decided to try something different ... we laughed at them. Smug in our certain awareness that ... communal life must be more difficult even than nuclear family life, which we know, to our very nerve endings, is disastrous, we condemned them, our children, for seeking a different future. We hated them for their flowers, for their love, and for their unmistakeable rejection of every hideous, mistaken compromise that we had made throughout our hollow, money- bitten, frightened, adult lives.
June Jordan (b. 1939), U.S. poet, civil rights activist. Keynote address, 1978, Child Welfare League of America. "Old Stories: New Lives," published in Moving Towards Home: Political Essays (1989).
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To rescue our children we will have to let them save us from the power we embody: we will have to trust the very difference that they forever personify. And we will have to allow them the choice, without fear of death: that they may come and do likewise or that they may come and that we will follow them, that a little child will lead us back to the child we will always be, vulnerable and wanting and hurting for love and for beauty.
June Jordan (b. 1939), U.S. poet, civil rights activist. Keynote address to Child Welfare League of America; published in Moving Towards Home: Political Essays (1989). "Old Stories: New Lives," (1978).
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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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A poet can read. A poet can write. A poet is African in Africa, or Irish in Ireland, or French on the left bank of Paris, or white in Wisconsin. A poet writes in her own language. A poet writes of her own people, her own history, her own vision, her own room, her own house where she sits at her own table quietly placing one word after another word until she builds a line and a movement and an image and a meaning that somersaults all of these into the singing, the absolutely individual voice of the poet: at liberty. A poet is somebody free. A poet is someone at home. How should there be Black poets in America?
June Jordan (b. 1936), African American poet and social critic. On Call, ch. 11 (1985).
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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.
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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.
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... the histories of Blacks and Jews in bondage and out of bondage, have been blood histories pursued through our kindred searchings for self-determination. Let this blood be a stain of honor that we share. Let us not now become enemies to ourselves and to each other.
June Jordan (b. 1936), African American poet and social critic. On Call, ch. 14 (1985). At the time, relations between African Americans and Jews, who traditionally supported African American rights, had become tense.
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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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