Amiri Baraka & His Impact On Black America
The first thing that strikes many about Amiri Baraka‘s poetry, most especially his later works, is that it carried the sharp tone of an oppressed, angry people. It wasn’t flowery prose full of lofty life affirmations. It was the product of the frustration typically used when writing from a critical stance of a society that seemingly crushed the hopes of Blacks in America. Along with Baraka’s written works were his speaking engagements and lectures, always peppered with the spirited speech of, as he liked to say, “Afro-American” revolution.
Of course, historians will note that Baraka wasn’t always a fiery champion of African-American thought and that he changed political courses many times in his life. Others will criticize his often controversial views in an attempt to demonize him. In that way, he was no different than many of us trying to find a voice that best represented our lives, triumphs and struggles.
I came to Baraka’s work in my late teens, blessed to get a dog-eared copy of his book “Blues People” from a friend of my mother. …read more
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