Amiri Baraka (LeRoi Jones) Iain Dykins Luis Perez Angela Selby
Amiri Baraka (Leroi Jones)
Born in 1934 in Newark, New Jersey.
Changed his name to Amiri Baraka.
Means Prince or the Blessed One.
Changed it when he was undergoing changes as a literature maker.
Attended the traditionally African American institution named Howard University.
After he transferred from Rutgers University where he earned a scholarship.
In 1954 he served in the U.S. Air Force.
Later he was discharged because of unapproved political activities
Baraka moved to Greenwich Village in New York.
Befriended white innovators like Gilbert Sorentino, Diane DiPrima, and Frank O’Hara.
Worked with these white innovators on the magazine Kulcher, besides editing and publishing his own journal.
Award winning play Dutchman established him in the intellectual elite quarters of New York’s poetry, art, and music.
Life of Full Changes
After all of the racial events happening in Alabama and Mississippi, Baraka moved to Harlem.
Some of Baraka’s work includes “Dutchman”, “The Baptism,” and “The Toilet.”
Other work includes 4 Black Revolutionary plays (all similarly harsh).
His last play was prohibited from printing in America because of recent assassinations and urban rioting at the time.
Preface to a Twenty Volume Suicide Note in 1961 was replete with exhortations that were all designed to arouse a fury for action.
It is said that his work was overtly presentational, showing what the reader needs to think and them also providing the stimulus to act.
In the Present
Baraka has been teaching at the University of New York.
Continues to write essays about jazz and social subjects.
Thanks to the availability of “Dutchman” in videocassettes the play remains an important part of his reputation.
Dutchman is a one act play that was first presented at the Cherry Lane Theater in New York City in March of 1964 (written in ‘63). It’s about a black male and a white female and was cited as the interracial Adam and Eve (which I’m not quite sure about) by some websites. The play starts out with twenty year old Clay riding on the subway. Lula makes a somewhat seductive entrance and starts talking with Clay. She is very seductive and makes him feel comfortable until she begins to insult and embarrass him on the train. He smacks her around a little and when he decides to get off the train she stabs him twice, killing him. The rest of the people on the train ignore it and quickly exit. On comes another young black man and Lula begins her next act. Dutchman
-The poem An Agony. As Now was written in 1964 Native American from the inside looking out He has been made to hate himself due to the majority of white society Similar to “Man in the Iron Mask” -A Poem for Willie Best also written in 1964 Written about an African American actor known as Sleep’n’eat -Will They Cry When You’re Gone, You Bet Poetry
Baraka has been known
as a controversial writer
Violent imagery towards
As a writer…
Baraka became known as the founder of the Black Arts
Movement in Harlem in the 1960s.
Wrote poems and monographs on Jazz and Blues around
this time as well
- Black oppression, racism, sexism, and homophobia
Who pay the CIA, Who knew the bomb was gonna blow Who know why the terrorists Learned to fly in Florida, San Diego Who know why Five Israelis was filming the explosion Who knew the World Trade Center was gonna get bombed Who told 4000 Israeli workers at the Twin Towers To stay home that day “ Somebody Blew up America”