Baraka quote
Amiri Baraka (LeRoi Jones) has achieved international stature as a poet, dramatist, essayist, and political activist. Born in 1934 in Newark, New Jersey, he was educated at Howard and Rutgers Universities and received master's degrees in philosophy from Columbia University and in German literature from the New School for Social Research. First associated with the Beats and the literary avant-garde while in his twenties, he became a leader in the Black Arts movement in the 1960s, founding important black cultural organizations like the Black Arts Repertory Theatre, and promoting black arts through his writing on jazz and blues. His own poems and plays, including the Obie Award-winning "Dutchman," expressed his increasing consciousness of the political problems and aesthetic possibilities facing ethnic artists in America and his increasing disappointment with capitalist America. By the 1970s, Amiri Baraka (who adopted the Muslim name meaning "blessed prince" in 1967) increasingly shared the global concerns of Third World Socialists, particularly in relation to issues of political and socioeconomic injustice. He is the author of fourteen volumes of poetry, recently selected in TRANSBLUESENCY: THE SELECTED POEMS OF AMIRI BARAKA/ LEROI JONES, 1961-1995 (1995), and FUNK LORE: NEW POEMS, 1984-1995, of more than twenty plays, seven volumes of nonfiction, and a novel. Amiri Baraka is the recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim and Rockefeller Foundations and the Langston Hughes Award. For twenty years he was a professor of Africana Studies at the State University of New York at Stony Brook. He lives with his wife, the poet and artist Amina Baraka, in his native Newark.