“Politics is power. Language is political.” When June Jordan (1936–2002) wrote those words in her manuscript “Black English: The Politics of Translation” in 1973, she was establishing her reputation as an essayist and poet. Within 20 years, she had published more than two dozen books and became one of the most prolific and outspoken African American writers ever. She dedicated her life and her gift to fighting for human rights.
Jordan’s voluminous correspondence reflects her involvement with a wide variety of issues, including equitable housing, racial equality, black English, power, abuse against women, breast cancer, American foreign policy, and lesbian, gay, and bisexual rights. She exchanged letters with other award-winning writers, artists, and activists—R. Buckminster Fuller, E. Ethelbert Miller, Adrienne Rich, and Alice Walker—over decades, providing a rare glimpse into their private lives.