Getting Her Due
Published in TC Today - Volume 31, No. 2
As is clear from June Jordan, Her Life and Letters, the second book on Jordan by TC Assistant Professor of English Education Valerie Kinloch, Jordan's peripatetic intellectual life played out against the background of an often turbulent personal one. Jordan had a difficult father whom she accused of beating her. Her marriage to a white Columbia College student in 1955 produced a son but ended in separation and then divorce. Jordan carved out a career as a freelance writer while sharing care of her child with relatives. She was stricken by breast cancer and wrote about it with the same vigor she brought to her poetry and her many essays on injustice.
"Jordan's greatest gift was falling in love," Kinloch quotes a Jordan friend as saying. "She fell in love over and over during her life with a kind of reckless momentum that defied everything else-fear, boredom, rage and disappointment." That love is, so far, unrequited by history. Although Kinloch writes that Jordan is "one of the most published black American writers of all time, even in death," Kinloch notes sadly that many of Jordan's books are carried in sparse numbers by bookstores and remembrances of her are few. Kinloch's work goes a significant distance toward righting that wrong.