17 Facts About Amiri Baraka

1. Jazz was something Amiri Baraka became interested in as a kid.

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2. In 1961 Amiri Baraka co-authored a "Declaration of Conscience" in support of Fidel Castro's regime.

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3. In 1963 Amiri Baraka published Blues People: Negro Music in White America, his account of the development of black music from slavery to contemporary jazz.

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4. In December 1965 Amiri Baraka moved back to Newark after allegations surfaced that he was using federal antipoverty welfare funds for his theater.

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5. Rather than use poetry as an escapist mechanism, Amiri Baraka saw poetry as a weapon of action.

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6. Not long after the 1967 riots, Amiri Baraka generated controversy when he went on the radio with a Newark police captain and Anthony Imperiale, a politician and private business owner, and the three of them blamed the riots on "white-led, so-called radical groups" and "Communists and the Trotskyite persons".

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7. In 1967, Amiri Baraka visited Maulana Karenga in Los Angeles and became an advocate of his philosophy of Kawaida, a multifaceted, categorized activist philosophy that produced the "Nguzo Saba", Kwanzaa, and an emphasis on African names.

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8. In 1974, Amiri Baraka distanced himself from Black nationalism, embracing Marxism-Leninism in the context of Maoist third-world liberation movements.

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9. Articles about Amiri Baraka appeared in the University's print media from Stony Brook Press, Blackworld, and other student campus publications.

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10. Shortly thereafter, Amiri Baraka took a tenure-track assistant professorship at Stony Brook in 1980 to assist "the struggling Africana Studies Department"; in 1983, he was promoted to associate professor and earned tenure.

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11. Rather than serve his sentence at the prison, Amiri Baraka was allowed to serve his 48 consecutive weekends in a Harlem halfway house.

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12. In 1980 Amiri Baraka published an essay in the Village Voice that was titled Confessions of a Former Anti-Semite.

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13. Poem Amiri Baraka referenced was "For Tom Postell, Dead Black Poet", which contained lines including.

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14. In 1989 Amiri Baraka won an American Book Award for his works as well as a Langston Hughes Award.

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15. In 1996, Amiri Baraka contributed to the AIDS benefit album Offbeat: A Red Hot Soundtrip produced by the Red Hot Organization.

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16. In July 2002, Amiri Baraka was named Poet Laureate of New Jersey by Governor Jim McGreevey.

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17. NPR's obituary for Amiri Baraka describes the depths of his influence simply: ".

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