Amiri Baraka - Black Poets, Timeline and Childhood

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Amiri Baraka's Personal Details

Poet and political activist, Amiri Baraka was one of the most influential African-American writers

InformationDetail
BirthdayOctober 7, 1934
Died onJanuary 9, 2014
NationalityAmerican
FamousAfrican American Authors, Black Authors, Black Poets, Communists, Columbia University, Howard University, Rutgers University, Writers, Poets, Essayists
IdeologiesCommunists
City/StateNew Jersey
SpousesAmina Baraka (m. 1966), Hettie Jones (m. 1958–1965)
Childrens Ahi Baraka, Amiri Baraka Jr., Dominque DiPrima, Kellie Jones, Lisa Jones, Maria Jones, Obalaji Baraka, Ras Baraka, Shani Baraka
Universities
  • Columbia University,Howard University,Rutgers University
  • Columbia University
  • The New School
  • Howard University
  • Rutgers University
  • Barringer High School
Notable Alumnis
  • Columbia University
  • Howard University
  • Rutgers University
Founder / Co-Founder
  • Totem Press
Birth PlaceNewark
GenderMale
FatherCoyt Leverette Jones
MotherAnna Lois Jones
Sun SignLibra
Born inNewark
Famous asWriter
Died at Age79

// Famous Black Authors

Amiri Baraka's photo

Who is Amiri Baraka?

Amiri Baraka was an African-American writer, essayist, playwright and music critic, known for his abstruse writing style which has often been difficult for the readers to comprehend. His poems and essays mostly reflected the social issues concerning African-Americans and he was also famous as the founder of the ‘Black Arts Movement’. His writings encompassed African-American music viz. Jazz and Blues and their history. His political standpoint changed several times as he went from being a part of the avant-garde ‘Beat Generation’, to being a Black Nationalist. His prolific career was also marred with several controversies, especially owing to his anti-Semitic poems and articles. He was also known for his upfront views and blunt comments on political matters like national oppression and racism. Apart from writing, he was also hailed for his social commitment and was bestowed with several prestigious literary awards and honors. Baraka had also taught at several universities and had played a powerful role in defining ‘Black Literature’ thereby inspiring countless others. Along with James Baldwin, Baraka was also one of the most published Black writers of his generation.

// Famous Essayists

Childhood & Early Life

Amiri Baraka, earlier known as Everett LeRoi Jones, was born in Newark, New Jersey to Coyt Leverette Jones, a postal supervisor and Anna Lois, a social worker.

In 1951, he went to Rutgers University on a scholarship but moved to Howard University in 1952. He later graduated from Howard University (c.1954) and served the U.S. Air force from 1954-1957.

In 1957, after leaving the Air force, he moved to Manhattan where he joined the avant-garde ‘Beat Generation’, a group of American writers who shot to fame during the 1950s for their unconventional writing style.

It was after moving to Greenwich Village in Manhattan, that his passion for jazz aroused, which later led him to pursue a parallel career as a music critic.

He has also studied philosophy at Columbia University and attended the ‘New School for Social Research’ without obtaining a degree.

Career

In 1958, after marrying Hettie Cohen, the co-founder of ‘Yugen’, a literary magazine, he became the magazine’s editor. Later, they founded the ‘Totem Press’ that went on to publish works of famous ‘Beat writers’ like Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac.

In 1961, his first volume of poetry, ‘Preface to a Twenty-Volume Suicide Note’ got published.

From 1961-1963, he worked alongside Diane Di Prima as an editor of ‘The Floating Bear’, a literary newsletter. During this period, he also joined the ‘Umbra Poets Workshop’, a group of African-American writers from Manhattan.

In 1963, his criticisms on African-American music, ‘Blues People: Negro Music in White America’, was published.

From 1963-1965, he taught creative writing at the Columbia University. During this time, he became a playwright and came to limelight with the production of the highly-acclaimed and controversial play, ‘Dutchman’. Ever since, he has written several plays like ‘The Slave-1964’ and ‘The Death of Malcolm X-1969’.

In 1965, after the assassination of Malcolm X, an African-American human rights activist, he became sceptical about the ‘white community’ and consequently left the ‘white Beat movement’ and Greenwich Village.

In 1965, after moving to Harlem, he founded the ‘Black Arts Repertory Theatre’, where the members used their plays to attack the prevalent racism.

In 1967, he worked as a visiting professor at the San Francisco State College and a year later published ‘Black Music’, a collection of his criticisms on music, which were previously published in various magazines.

In the early 1970s, he wrote numerous poems and articles that were viewed by critics as anti-Jewish.

In 1974, he embraced Communism, believing that the declining economic condition was the root cause of various problems faced by the American society.

In 1979, he became a lecturer in Africana Studies at Stony Brook University.In 1984, his autobiography, ‘The Autobiography of LeRoi Jones/Amiri Baraka’ was published.

Major Works

‘Dutchman’ is a highly controversial yet critically-acclaimed play, written at a time when Baraka embraced ‘Black Nationalism’, a group that advocated ‘separatism’ for the African-Americans. This play narrates the story of a chance-meeting of a white woman with a black man on a subway. On March 24, 1964, it was staged at the Cherry Lane Theatre in New York and was adapted into a film in 1967.

Awards & Achievements

In 1964, his play, ‘Dutchman’ won the ‘Obie Award’ or ‘Off-Broadway Theatre Award’ for the ‘Best Off-Broadway play’.

In 1989, he was awarded the ‘American Book Award’ for his literary works.

In 1999, he was honored as the ‘Poet Laureate of New Jersey’.

He is the recipient of several fellowships from prominent institutions like ‘the Guggenheim Fellowship-1965’, ‘Rockefeller Foundation Award for Drama’ and National Endowment for the Arts.

He also received the ‘Before Columbus Foundation’ Lifetime Achievement Award.In 2002, he was included in the list of ‘100 Greatest African-Americans’.

Personal Life & Legacy

In 1958, he married a Jewish woman, Hettie Roberta Cohen and the couple had to two children. They got divorced after he left for Harlem, following the assassination of Malcolm-X.

In 1966, he met his second wife, Sylvia Robinson, a black woman who changed her name to Bibi Amina Baraka. The couple got married in same year and remained together till his death in 2014.

He died on January 9, 2014 due to complications from a recent surgery.

Trivia

This prolific African-American author has appeared in several documentary films like ‘Black Candle’ and ‘Motherland’.

// Famous Poets

Amiri Baraka awards

YearNameAward

Other

- Rockefeller Foundation Award for Drama
- Before Columbus Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award
1989 - American Book Award for his works
1989 - Langston Hughes Award
2008 - PEN Open Book Award

Amiri Baraka biography timelines

  • // 7th Oct 1934
    Amiri Baraka, earlier known as Everett LeRoi Jones, was born in Newark, New Jersey to Coyt Leverette Jones, a postal supervisor and Anna Lois, a social worker.
  • // 1951 To 1957
    In 1951, he went to Rutgers University on a scholarship but moved to Howard University in 1952. He later graduated from Howard University (c.1954) and served the U.S. Air force from 1954-1957.
  • // 1957
    In 1957, after leaving the Air force, he moved to Manhattan where he joined the avant-garde ‘Beat Generation’, a group of American writers who shot to fame during the 1950s for their unconventional writing style.
  • // 1958
    In 1958, after marrying Hettie Cohen, the co-founder of ‘Yugen’, a literary magazine, he became the magazine’s editor. Later, they founded the ‘Totem Press’ that went on to publish works of famous ‘Beat writers’ like Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac.
  • // 1958
    In 1958, he married a Jewish woman, Hettie Roberta Cohen and the couple had to two children. They got divorced after he left for Harlem, following the assassination of Malcolm-X.
  • // 1961
    In 1961, his first volume of poetry, ‘Preface to a Twenty-Volume Suicide Note’ got published.
  • // 1961 To 1963
    From 1961-1963, he worked alongside Diane Di Prima as an editor of ‘The Floating Bear’, a literary newsletter. During this period, he also joined the ‘Umbra Poets Workshop’, a group of African-American writers from Manhattan.
  • // 1963
    In 1963, his criticisms on African-American music, ‘Blues People: Negro Music in White America’, was published.
  • // 1963 To 1969
    From 1963-1965, he taught creative writing at the Columbia University. During this time, he became a playwright and came to limelight with the production of the highly-acclaimed and controversial play, ‘Dutchman’. Ever since, he has written several plays like ‘The Slave-1964’ and ‘The Death of Malcolm X-1969’.
  • // 1964
    In 1964, his play, ‘Dutchman’ won the ‘Obie Award’ or ‘Off-Broadway Theatre Award’ for the ‘Best Off-Broadway play’.
  • // 1964 To 1967
    ‘Dutchman’ is a highly controversial yet critically-acclaimed play, written at a time when Baraka embraced ‘Black Nationalism’, a group that advocated ‘separatism’ for the African-Americans. This play narrates the story of a chance-meeting of a white woman with a black man on a subway. On March 24, 1964, it was staged at the Cherry Lane Theatre in New York and was adapted into a film in 1967.
  • // 1965
    In 1965, after the assassination of Malcolm X, an African-American human rights activist, he became sceptical about the ‘white community’ and consequently left the ‘white Beat movement’ and Greenwich Village.
  • // 1965
    In 1965, after moving to Harlem, he founded the ‘Black Arts Repertory Theatre’, where the members used their plays to attack the prevalent racism.
  • // 1966 To 2014
    In 1966, he met his second wife, Sylvia Robinson, a black woman who changed her name to Bibi Amina Baraka. The couple got married in same year and remained together till his death in 2014.
  • // 1967
    In 1967, he worked as a visiting professor at the San Francisco State College and a year later published ‘Black Music’, a collection of his criticisms on music, which were previously published in various magazines.
  • // 1974
    In 1974, he embraced Communism, believing that the declining economic condition was the root cause of various problems faced by the American society.
  • // 1979
    In 1979, he became a lecturer in Africana Studies at Stony Brook University.In 1984, his autobiography, ‘The Autobiography of LeRoi Jones/Amiri Baraka’ was published.
  • // 1989
    In 1989, he was awarded the ‘American Book Award’ for his literary works.
  • // 1999
    In 1999, he was honored as the ‘Poet Laureate of New Jersey’.
  • // 9th Jan 2014
    He died on January 9, 2014 due to complications from a recent surgery.

// Famous Alumni of Howard University

Amiri Baraka's FAQ

  • What is Amiri Baraka birthday?

    Amiri Baraka was born at 1934-10-07

  • When was Amiri Baraka died?

    Amiri Baraka was died at 2014-01-09

  • Where was Amiri Baraka died?

    Amiri Baraka was died in Newark, New Jersey, U.S.

  • Which age was Amiri Baraka died?

    Amiri Baraka was died at age 79

  • Where is Amiri Baraka's birth place?

    Amiri Baraka was born in Newark

  • What is Amiri Baraka nationalities?

    Amiri Baraka's nationalities is American

  • What is Amiri Baraka ideologies?

    Amiri Baraka's ideologies is Communists

  • Who is Amiri Baraka spouses?

    Amiri Baraka's spouses is Amina Baraka (m. 1966), Hettie Jones (m. 1958–1965)

  • Who is Amiri Baraka childrens?

    Amiri Baraka's childrens is Ahi Baraka, Amiri Baraka Jr., Dominque DiPrima, Kellie Jones, Lisa Jones, Maria Jones, Obalaji Baraka, Ras Baraka, Shani Baraka

  • What was Amiri Baraka universities?

    Amiri Baraka studied at Columbia University,Howard University,Rutgers University, Columbia University, The New School, Howard University, Rutgers University, Barringer High School

  • What was Amiri Baraka notable alumnis?

    Amiri Baraka's notable alumnis is Columbia University, Howard University, Rutgers University

  • Which company or organization was founded by Amiri Baraka?

    Amiri Baraka was the founder/co-founder of Totem Press

  • Who is Amiri Baraka's father?

    Amiri Baraka's father is Coyt Leverette Jones

  • Who is Amiri Baraka's mother?

    Amiri Baraka's mother is Anna Lois Jones

  • What is Amiri Baraka's sun sign?

    Amiri Baraka is Libra

  • How famous is Amiri Baraka?

    Amiri Baraka is famouse as Writer