Amiri Baraka

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by jozivanaa
Last updated 4 years ago

Social Studies
African-American History

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Amiri Baraka

Amiri Baraka 1934–2014

BACKGROUND:Before being such a widely known poet, Amiri Baraka was in the US Air Force. But he didn't stay long in the Air Force because he knew he had bigger things planned for him.He began working in a music warehouse which sparked his interest in Jazz music. Soon after, he became the one of the music industries biggest critics.

CHALLENGES:When Baraka recalled his past he talked about times he lived through, from his childhood. He remembered not being allowed to go inside a segregated library. Many years later when 9/11 happened Baraka wrote a poem, "Somebody Blew Up America," which spread like wildfire. Many critics said Baraka took it too far with this poem, he even lost fans because of it. In the poem he said "Who told 4000 Israeli workers at the Twin Towers to stay home that day." He spoke his opinion, and that offended a lot of Israeli people.

WHAT I LEARNED:After doing this project about Amiri Baraka, I learned a lot about him, and the things he had to deal with. One thing I learned was that Baraka was an author of fiction, drama, poetry and music. I also learned to speak my mind because even though Baraka lost fans for speaking his mind, he also gained respect by many. Also, Baraka's art was political not subtle, his poetry and stories were straight forward and in your face. He took risks, and that made me respect him and his art.

CONTRIBUTIONS: Baraka's has had a lot of influence on younger writers. Being a leader of the Black Arts movement of the 1960s, Baraka did so much to define and support black literature’s mission for the next century. Baraka's fiction of the 1960s was one of the most important African-American work.

CONTRIBUTIONS:Baraka was running a community arts center in Newark with his wife, Amina Baraka. Professor Kumozie Woodard says Baraka was a teacher, activist, artist, leader and these roles came together as soon as you met him. These roles allowed Amiri Baraka to express himself in every way, shape, and form.

CONTRIBUTIONS:Baraka's work startled the next generation of younger artists. Baraka managed to work be both mainstream and underground. Baraka worked as a full-time professor at SUNY Stony Brook, and Baraka was acknowledged by the Guggenheim Foundation and by the National Endowment for the Arts.


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