Born to Jamaican immigrants in Harlem, New York, June Jordan later attended Barnard College and the University of Chicago. Her experiences as the only black student at a prep school and her taboo marriage to a white man fueled the sense of discrimination in her activist writing—throughout her work, she was tireless in her commitment to civil rights and political liberty. Jordan also had a distinguished academic career, teaching at Sarah Lawrence College, Yale University, and the University of California at Berkeley. In her poem “In Memoriam: Martin Luther King, Jr.” she describes problems in American culture using a rhythmically aggressive yet free-flowing verse form.
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