June Jordan: Her Life and Letters (Women Writers of Color)


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Though she enjoyed some of her classes and admired many of the people she met, she felt fundamentally at odds with the predominately white, male curriculum and left Barnard without graduating. Interracial marriages faced considerable opposition at the time, and Jordan and her husband divorced after ten and a half years, leaving Jordan to support their son.

First working in film, Jordan explored the impact of environment and architecture on the lives of low-income Black families, working with the architect Buckminster Fuller. Aimed at young readers, the book was originally a project of Langston Hughes. In a vernacular voice, Who Look at Me describes several paintings of Black Americans, prints of which are included in the book.

Jordan felt strongly about the use of Black English, seeing it as a way to keep Black community and culture alive. She encouraged her young students to write in that idiom through her writing workshops for Black and Puerto Rican children. Sixteen-year-old Buddy, and his younger girlfriend, Angela, try to create a world of their own in an abandoned house near a cemetery. He is the man I believe in, the man who will come to lead his people into a new community.


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He was my hero and my tyrant. The essays examine a wide range of topics, from sexism, racism, and Black English to trips the author made to various places, the decline of the U. That volume, Directed by Desire: The Collected Poems of June Jordan , includes various poems published from through , many of which discuss her battle with cancer.

Janet St. The thing it never did was leave you unengaged. In an interview with Alternative Radio before her death, Jordan was asked about the role of the poet in society. Then the task of a poet of color, a black poet, as a people hated and despised, is to rally the spirit of your folks…I have to get myself together and figure out an angle, a perspective, that is an offering, that other folks can use to pick themselves up, to rally and to continue or, even better, to jump higher, to reach more extensively in solidarity with even more varieties of people to accomplish something.

Feast on this smorgasbord of poems about eating and cooking, exploring our relationships with food.

June Jordan: Her Life and Letters (Women Writers of Color)

Producer Wesley Weissberg interviews poets and critics about June Jordan's legacy and rap's place in poetry. Prose Home Harriet Blog. Visit Home Events Exhibitions Library. Newsletter Subscribe Give. Poetry Foundation. Back to Previous. June Jordan. Gwen Phillips. Poems by June Jordan. See All Poems by June Jordan. Related Content. Fannie Lou Hamer.

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Apologies to All the People in Lebanon. July 4, Letter to the Local Police. On the Loss of Energy and Other Things.

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Poem about My Rights. JCSU also helped me to better understand the value of as well as the responsibility that comes with engaging in community spaces in humanizing and caring ways, which means that activism, advocacy, care, and love are important, fundamental components of engagement. I also learned early on in Charleston, SC, and it was strengthened during my time at JCSU, that we must never forget our Black cultural, historical, intellectual, and social traditions that have shaped who we are, that have made us strong people, and that have sustained us through the most trying times in this world.

These are lessons that I learned from home, from JCSU, and from my experiences learning with and from other people in many different communities in the United States and across the world. I carry these lessons with me every day. My decanal responsibilities are a result of my teaching, research, engagement, and leadership work. In other words, I do not think I would be Dean of the School of Education at the University of Pittsburgh, for example, if I did not have a real commitment to teaching, research, engagement, and leading.

Because I have always wanted to change the world—as a result of knowing what struggle is and seeing it in my own familial, community, and extended contexts—there is no question that my decanal responsibilities are not just about being a Dean in the traditional sense. Instead of thinking about where the balance is in this work, I am thinking about how my approach leads me to maintain a focus on changing systems and working for justice with others.

And maybe that is the balance. This is important to state, given the presence and efforts of other Black people in the College before my time at Ohio State who had an unwavering commitment to create spaces for the work to happen. While this is not an exhaustive list, I must recognize Drs. Charles Hancock, Bob Ransom, and Cynthia Dillard who placed attention on the need to have and the importance of having sustainable models of diversity and equity.

The work they did helped me to be more vocal about, and explicit in, my ongoing commitments to these efforts. This work is not only important and valuable, but necessary in higher education, specifically, and in all aspects of the life and the world, generally. And that's political, in its most profound way. If I connect this passage from June Jordan to your question about creating a mentoring initiative for Black children and young adults, then I must and should first begin with love.

There must be love in what we do, in how we do it, and in how we see and work with others. This love connects to truth-telling, story-telling, and being beautiful in who we all are in the world. I would start there. I would immerse myself in the communities where our children and youth are in order to learn from them and their families about who they are, what they think, and what they want from a mentoring program. Having already done some of this in my other work, I would then seek out those people community advocates, leaders, families, educators, etc.

This is where I would start and how I would seek to both create and sustain a mentoring initiative.

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Also, I think it would be necessary to partner with the community and the local school district where our students attend. If, however, this is not possible, then I would move forward, and that would include an intentional focus on cultivating love with our kids and youth as well as for learning, engagement, and collaboration. I know this sounds very general, but I do believe that we must first listen to them and what they say they need and want.

Find it at other libraries via WorldCat Limited preview. Bibliography Includes bibliographical references p. During her life, she became one of the most prolific, important, and influential African American writers of her time. Her work "Civil Wars", a collection of letters and essays, addressed such topics as violence, homosexuality, race, and Black feminism.


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  • Working in many genres, and touching on many themes and issues, Jordan was a powerful force in the world of African American literature, and American literature in general. This biography reveals the woman, the writer, the poet, the activist, the leader, and the educator in all her complexity.

    The Difficult Miracle: The Living Legacy of June Jordan -- Radcliffe Institute

    Subject Jordan, June, Bibliographic information. Browse related items Start at call number: PS O73 Z55

    June Jordan: Her Life and Letters (Women Writers of Color) June Jordan: Her Life and Letters (Women Writers of Color)
    June Jordan: Her Life and Letters (Women Writers of Color) June Jordan: Her Life and Letters (Women Writers of Color)
    June Jordan: Her Life and Letters (Women Writers of Color) June Jordan: Her Life and Letters (Women Writers of Color)
    June Jordan: Her Life and Letters (Women Writers of Color) June Jordan: Her Life and Letters (Women Writers of Color)
    June Jordan: Her Life and Letters (Women Writers of Color) June Jordan: Her Life and Letters (Women Writers of Color)

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