Amiri Baraka, formerly known as LeRoi Jones, became known as one of the most militant, anti-white black nationalists of the 1960s Black Power movement. An advocate of Black Cultural Nationalism, Baraka supported the rejection of all things white and western. He helped found and direct the influential Black Arts movement which sought to move black writers away from western aesthetic sensibilities and toward a more complete embrace of the black world. Except perhaps for James Baldwin, no single figure has had more of an impact on black intellectual and artistic life during the last forty years.
Poet, dramatist, novelist, critic, teacher, and political activist Amiri Baraka, born LeRoi Jones, vividly recounts his crusading role in African American literature. A driving force behind the Black Arts Movement, the prolific Baraka retells his experiences from his participation in avant-garde literature after World War II and his role in Black nationalism after the assassination of Malcolm X to his conversion to Islam and his commitments to an international socialist vision.
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So says Amiri Baraka in the Introduction to Blues People, his classic work on the place of jazz and blues in American social, musical, economic, and cultural history. From the ...