June Jordan was born on July 9, 1936 and died on June 14, 2002. Melancon writes:
“In her infinite wisdom and incomparable genius as a poet, essayist, professor, activist, and conscious human, what would Jordan make of the Black Lives Matter movement and struggles of black folks against police brutality and systemic state violence? What would Jordan pen, in 2016, about sexual assault and rape culture that is evermore pervasive and institutionalized? What might she think about identity politics and human rights when simply looking the “wrong” gender—or being gender “non-conforming”—could get one harassed or arrested in restrooms in North Carolina or killed—if LGBTQ—in an Orlando nightclub and other countless corridors across America. Who would she support in the presidential election? The questions are many. The struggles are real.
“What is equally real is the power of June Jordan’s work, which is transformative and transcends time. And so, what gives me comfort, then, in these uncertain moments is precisely Jordan and her very words themselves. Her poetry, essays, and sharp intellectualism—along with her incisive analysis and ability to see things for what they are—have and will always remain with us. To be sure, she not only speaks to the cultural, historical, and political consciousness and complexities, but she does so in a language and lexicon of her very own. At its very core, her work is a black cultural tradition and influence that, while specific, is simultaneously universal and intersectional.”