Amiri Baraka

LeRoi Jones

1938 (Newark, N.J.) – 2014 (New York)

As both writer and activist, initially known as LeRoi Jones, Baraka’s was a unique if sometimes contentious voice, especially in his contributions to the black arts movement of the 1960’s. Always active across a broader front, he credited Ginsberg with helping him find his voice; Kerouac, Olson and O’Hara were among other mentor-friends. Baldwin advised the young poet to be true to himself. Hughes (a profound influence) said some harsh things about him, though with a father-figure’s compassion. Baraka wrote Roach’s biography, scrapped with Mingus, was delighted to find Coltrane had read him, and gave Simone house-room for several months.

Amiri Baraka knew…