Baraka Amiri 1934-....

Alternative names
Dates:
Birth 1934-10-07
Death 2014-01-09
Gender:
Male
Americans
English

Biographical notes:

Amiri Baraka was born LeRoi Jones in Newark, New Jersey, in 1934. He was educated at Rutgers and Howard Universities, graduating from the latter at the age of 19. In 1958 he founded the influential poetry magazine Yugen, which ran until 1962. His writings, including fiction, essays, and poetry, appeared in such publications as The nation, Evergreen review, Downbeat, and The floating bear.

From the description of Imamu Amiri Baraka papers, 1958-1982. (University of California, Berkeley). WorldCat record id: 214976799

Amiri Baraka was born Everett Leroi Jones in Newark, New Jersey, in 1934, and is the author of over 40 books of essays, poems, drama, and music history and criticism. In 1958, he began co-edited the avant-garde literature magazine Yugen, and also founded Totem Press, which first published works by Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, and others. In 1968, his play "Home on the Range" was performed as a benefit for the Black Panther Party, and he bacame a Muslim, changing his name to Imamu Amiri Baraka. From 1968 to 1975, Baraka was chairman of the Committee for Unified Newark, a black united front organization. In 1974 Baraka adopted a Marxist Leninist philosophy and dropped the spiritual title "Imamu" meaning spiritual leader. In 1984, The Autobiography of Leroi Jones/Amiri Baraka was published.

From the description of Amiri Baraka / Leroi Jones collection, 1961-1972 (Plainview-Old Bethpage Public Library). WorldCat record id: 721975464

From the description of Amiri Baraka / Leroi Jones collection, 1954-1970 1997-2004. (Plainview-Old Bethpage Public Library). WorldCat record id: 643331888

Poet, playwright and author.

From the description of Imamu Amiri Baraka manuscripts, [ca. 1974-1979]. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 122378678

African American author Amiri Baraka was born Everett Leroy Jones in Newark, New Jersey, and educated at Rutgers, Howard, and Columbia universities, and the New School for Social Research. A diverse, prolific, and controversial writer, his early poetry was influenced by the Beat generation; his work and personal life began to show an increased social consciousness in the 1960s, and, in the wake of Malcolm X's assassination, he moved to Harlem and became a black nationalist leader, changing his name to Imamu Ameer Baraka, later altered to Amiri Baraka. In 1974 he embraced socialism, and distanced himself from black nationalism. He has written poetry, plays, essays, and fiction, served as editor for numerous anthologies and periodicals, and is generally considered one of the most influential African American voices of his generation.

From the description of LeRoi Jones letter and related material, 1969. (Pennsylvania State University Libraries). WorldCat record id: 65223157

American black nationalist poet and playwright.

From the description of Imamu Amiri Baraka speech, 1968. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 754867383

Baraka was born Everett LeRoi Jones on Oct. 7, 1934 in Newark, NJ; attended Rutgers Univ., 1951-52; BA, Howard Univ., 1954; MA in philosophy, Columbia Univ.; MA in German literature, the New School for Social Research; founder and editor of Yugen magazine and Totem Press, 1958; instructor, New School for Social Research, 1961-64; assoc. professor, 1983-85, then professor of Afro-American studies at SUNY Stony Brook; founder and director, Black Arts Repertory Theatre, 1964-66, and director of Spirit House, a black community theater; co-founder and chairman of the Congress of African People; author of poetry, plays, novels, and essays including: Preface to a twenty volume suicide note (1961), Blues people : Negro music in white America (1963), Dutchman (1964), Home : social essays (1966), and Daggers and javelins : Essays, 1974-1979 (1984).

From the description of Papers, 1958-1966. (University of California, Los Angeles). WorldCat record id: 39028425

Author and social activist. Born Leroy Jones; changed name to LeRoi Jones, and later, to Imamu Amiri Baraka.

From the description of Papers of Imamu Amiri Baraka, 1985, n.d. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 70984168

From the description of Imamu Amiri Baraka papers, 1985. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 70984152

American author.

From the description of Papers of Imamu Amiri Baraka [manuscript], 1960-1963. (University of Virginia). WorldCat record id: 647833898

Imamu Amiri Baraka is a writer whose variety of forms include drama, poetry, music criticism, fiction, autobiography and the essay. As a major and controversial author, his ideas and art - especially, as the primary architect of the Black Arts Movement of the 1960's - have had a profound influence on the direction of subsequent African-American literature.

Baraka was born Everett LeRoi Jones in Newark, New Jersey of working class parents; he attended Rutgers, Howard, and Columbia Universities and the New School for Social Research. He has taught at several universities and founded the Black Arts Repertory Theater School in Harlem in 1964. His literary career began in 1958 when he founded "Yugen" magazine and Totem Press. Although Baraka started publishing in the early 1960's, he did not achieve fame until the 1964 publication of his play "Dutchman," later made into a movie. Other important plays he wrote include "The Slave" (1964) and "Toilet" (1964). A prolific writer, Baraka has published two books of poetry, "Preface to a Twenty Volume Suicide Note" (1961) and "The Dead Lecturer" (1964). The mid 1960's saw the publication of "The System of Dante's Hell," a novel and "Tales," a collection of short stories. Baraka also wrote a major social-aesthetic study of African-American music "Blues People: Negro Music in White America" (1963).

Baraka's career has gone through a series of dramatic stages, from his Beatnik years in the late 1950's through the early 1960's when this apolitical avant garde writer refused to take action in the world to black cultural nationalist, renouncing the white world in the mid-1960's through mid-1970's, to a Marxist-Leninist rejecting monopoly capitalism since the mid-1970's. In 1974, dramatically reversing himself, Baraka rejected black nationalism as racist and became a Third World Socialist. Some critics see Baraka as one of this century's major literary figures who has significantly affected the course of African American literary culture.

From the description of Amiri Baraka collection of playscripts, 1964-1986. (New York Public Library). WorldCat record id: 122686867

Imamu Amiri Baraka is a writer whose variety of forms include drama, poetry, music criticism, fiction, autobiography and the essay. As a major and controversial author, his ideas and art - especially, as the primary architect of the Black Arts Movement of the 1960's - have had a profound influence on the direction of subsequent African-American literature.

Baraka was born Everett LeRoi Jones in Newark, New Jersey of working class parents; he attended Rutgers, Howard and Columbia Universities and the New School for Social Research. He has taught at several universities and founded the Black Arts Repertory Theater School in Harlem in 1964. His literary career began in 1958 when he founded "Yugen" magazine and Totem Press. Although Baraka started publishing in the early 1960's, he did not achieve fame until the 1964 publication of his play "Dutchman," later made into a movie. Other important plays he wrote include "The Slave" (1964) and "Toilet" (1964). A prolific writer, Baraka has published two books of poetry, "Preface to a Twenty Volume Suicide Note" (1961) and "The Dead Lecturer" (1964). The mid 1960's saw the publication of "The System of Dante's Hell," a novel and "Tales," a collection of short stories. Baraka also wrote a major social-aesthetic study of African-American music "Blues People: Negro Music in White America" (1963).

Baraka's career has gone through a series of dramatic stages, from his Beatnik years in the late 1950's through the early 1960's when this apolitical avant garde writer refused to take action in the world to black cultural nationalist, renouncing the white world in the mid-1960's through mid-1970's, to a Marxist-Leninist rejecting monopoly capitalism since the mid-1970's. In 1974, dramatically reversing himself, Baraka rejected black nationalism as racist and became a Third World Socialist. Some critics see Baraka as one of this century's major literary figures who has significantly affected the course of African-American literary culture.

From the description of Amiri Baraka collection of unpublished poetry, 1959-1965. (New York Public Library). WorldCat record id: 122570663

Biographical/Historical Note

American black nationalist poet and playwright.

From the guide to the Imamu Amiri Baraka speech, 1968., (Hoover Institution Archives)

Imamu Amiri Baraka is a writer whose variety of forms include drama, poetry, music criticism, fiction, autobiography and the essay. As a major and controversial author, his ideas and art - especially, as the primary architect of the Black Arts Movement of the 1960's - have had a profound influence on the direction of subsequent African-American literature.

Baraka was born Everett LeRoi Jones in Newark, New Jersey of working class parents; he attended Rutgers, Howard, and Columbia Universities and the New School for Social Research. He has taught at several universities and founded the Black Arts Repertory Theater School in Harlem in 1964. His literary career began in 1958 when he founded "Yugen" magazine and Totem Press. Although Baraka started publishing in the early 1960's, he did not achieve fame until the 1964 publication of his play "Dutchman," later made into a movie. Other important plays he wrote include "The Slave" (1964) and "Toilet" (1964). A prolific writer, Baraka has published two books of poetry, "Preface to a Twenty Volume Suicide Note" (1961) and "The Dead Lecturer" (1964). The mid 1960's saw the publication of "The System of Dante's Hell," a novel and "Tales," a collection of short stories. Baraka also wrote a major social-aesthetic study of African-American music "Blues People: Negro Music in White America" (1963).

Baraka's career has gone through a series of dramatic stages, from his Beatnik years in the late 1950's through the early 1960's when this apolitical avant garde writer refused to take action in the world to black cultural nationalist, renouncing the white world in the mid-1960's through mid-1970's, to a Marxist-Leninist rejecting monopoly capitalism since the mid-1970's. In 1974, dramatically reversing himself, Baraka rejected black nationalism as racist and became a Third World Socialist. Some critics see Baraka as one of this century's major literary figures who has significantly affected the course of African American literary culture.

From the guide to the Amiri Baraka collection of playscripts, 1964-1986, (The New York Public Library. Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Manuscripts, Archives and Rare Books Division.)

Imamu Amiri Baraka is a writer whose variety of forms include drama, poetry, music criticism, fiction, autobiography and the essay. As a major and controversial author, his ideas and art - especially, as the primary architect of the Black Arts Movement of the 1960's - have had a profound influence on the direction of subsequent African-American literature.

Baraka was born Everett LeRoi Jones in Newark, New Jersey of working class parents; he attended Rutgers, Howard and Columbia Universities and the New School for Social Research. He has taught at several universities and founded the Black Arts Repertory Theater School in Harlem in 1964. His literary career began in 1958 when he founded "Yugen" magazine and Totem Press. Although Baraka started publishing in the early 1960's, he did not achieve fame until the 1964 publication of his play "Dutchman," later made into a movie. Other important plays he wrote include "The Slave" (1964) and "Toilet" (1964). A prolific writer, Baraka has published two books of poetry, "Preface to a Twenty Volume Suicide Note" (1961) and "The Dead Lecturer" (1964). The mid 1960's saw the publication of "The System of Dante's Hell," a novel and "Tales," a collection of short stories. Baraka also wrote a major social-aesthetic study of African-American music "Blues People: Negro Music in White America" (1963).

Baraka's career has gone through a series of dramatic stages, from his Beatnik years in the late 1950's through the early 1960's when this apolitical avant garde writer refused to take action in the world to black cultural nationalist, renouncing the white world in the mid-1960's through mid-1970's, to a Marxist-Leninist rejecting monopoly capitalism since the mid-1970's. In 1974, dramatically reversing himself, Baraka rejected black nationalism as racist and became a Third World Socialist. Some critics see Baraka as one of this century's major literary figures who has significantly affected the course of African-American literary culture.

From the guide to the Amiri Baraka collection of unpublished poetry, 1959-1965, (The New York Public Library. Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Manuscripts, Archives and Rare Books Division.)

Everett LeRoi Jones was born on October 7, 1934 in Newark, New Jersey, the son of Coyette LeRoi and Anna Russ Jones. In his youth he showed considerable aptitude as a student, graduating from high school two years ahead of his class. Jones received a B.A. from Howard University in 1953, and spent the following two years in the United States Air Force.

Jones then settled in New York City and did graduate work in comparative literature at Columbia. He began to develop his talents as a poet and critic, becoming associated with what was known as the "Beat Generation" in the East Village. There Jones edited Yugen, a magazine of underground poetry, and co-edited a literary newsletter, the Floating Bear . With other poets, including Diane Di Prima, he founded the American Theatre for Poets, an avant garde Village dramatic group, in 1961. Jones read his verse in coffeehouses, and two volumes of his poems, Preface to a Twenty Volume Suicide Note and The Dead Lecturer, were published.

After a visit to Cuba in 1960, Jones began to condemn American culture, seeing American blacks as its victims. This theme was elaborated in his book Blues People: Negro Music in White America, published in 1963.

Jones' debut as a professional off-Broadway playwright came in 1964 with Dutchman, a shocking drama of interracial hostility. It ran for nearly a year in New York and was also presented abroad. Two more of his plays presented the following season, The Toilet and The Slave, were less successful.

In the mid-1960's LeRoi Jones wrote The System of Dante's Hell, an autobiographical novel, as well as Home: Social Essays and Tales . In 1965 he moved to Harlem where he founded the Black Arts Repertory Theatre. The following year Jones returned to Newark, N.J. and began "Spirit House", a multi-faceted black cultural workshop similar to his previous program in Harlem. In Newark he founded the Black Community Development and Defense Organization (BCD), a group of men and women dedicated to the "creation of a new value system for the Afro-American community", with stress placed upon elements of African culture. The group is of the Muslim faith and Jones now uses his Muslim name, Ameer Baraka. He has recently written several one-act plays for black audiences, including Slave Ship, Resurrection in Life, Great Goodness for Life (A Coon Show), Arm Yourself or Harm Yourself, and A Recent Killing . Jones occupies a position of political leadership in the black communities of Newark.

Jones' first marriage was to Hettie Cohen, his co-editor of Yugen . They had two children. He now lives at Spirit House with his second wife, Amini, their son, Ras Jua Al Aziz, and Mrs. Baraka's three daughters by a previous marriage.

From the guide to the (Everett) Leroi Jones (aka Amiri Baraka) Papers, 1957-1965, (Special Collections Research Center, Syracuse University Libraries)

Amiri Baraka (born Everett LeRoi Jones on October 7, 1934, in Newark, New Jersey) is an American writer of poetry, drama, fiction, essays, and music criticism. He studied at Rutgers University, received a B.A. from Howard University (1954), an M.A. in philosophy from Columbia University, and an M.A. in German literature from the New School for Social Research.

Baraka, who published under his birth name of LeRoi Jones until 1967, is known for his social criticism and a confrontational and inflammatory style that has made it difficult for some audiences and critics to view either him or his works objectively. Baraka's art stems directly and specifically from his African-American heritage; throughout his career, whether poetry, drama, fiction, or essays, he has worked to shock and awaken audiences to the political concerns of black Americans during the second half of the twentieth century. Baraka's own political stance changed several times over his career, which in turn impacted his work. Early on, he was a member of the Beat Movement and a friend of Frank O'Hara, Allen Ginsberg, and Gilbert Sorrentino, but a 1959 visit to Cuba inspired him to be more active in fighting for social justice. After the death of a Malcolm X in 1965, Baraka became a black nationalist; later he revised his views, denouncing black nationalism as a form of racism, and became a third world socialist and then a Marxist. Following the September 11, 2001, bombings of the World Trade Center, Baraka suggested in his poem "Somebody Blew up America" that New York's Jews had received advance warning to stay out of the Twin Towers. The public response was so aggressive that New Jersey abolished the position of poet laureate which Baraka held at the time. In 2006, David Horowitz included Baraka in his book The Professors: The 101 Most Dangerous Academics in America .

He has received many awards over his career: the John Whitney Foundation fellowship for poetry and fiction, 1962; Village Voice Best American Off- Broadway Play ( "Obie") award, 1964, for Dutchman ; Guggenheim fellowship, 1965-66; Yoruba Academy fellow, 1965; National Endowment for the Arts grant, 1966; D.H.L. from Malcolm X College, 1972; Rockefeller Foundation fellow (drama), 1981; Poetry Award, National Endowment for the Arts, 1981; New Jersey Council for the Arts award, 1982; American Book Award, Before Columbus Foundation, 1984, for Confirmation: An Anthology of African- American Women ; Drama Award, 1985; PEN-Faulkner Award, 1989; Langston Hughes Medal, 1989, for outstanding contribution to literature; Ferroni award (Italy), and Foreign Poet Award, 1993; James Weldon Johnson Medal, 2001; and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Los Angeles Pan African Film Festival, 2002.

From the guide to the Amiri Baraka Collection, 1964-1974, 1968, (Special Collections Research Center, Syracuse University Libraries)

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