The Life and Poetry of Amiri Baraka

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The Life and Poetry of Amiri Baraka

"To understand that you are black in a society where black is an extreme liability is one thing, but to understand that it is the society that is lacking and impossibly deformed, and not yourself, isolates you even more" (About 3). This is a direct quote from Baraka, and it outlines his beliefs well. History and society have always influenced Amiri Baraka, and this made him feel as though society was isolating the Black community. Throughout his life, Baraka has tried to teach the idea of equality among races and classes by way of his poetry, plays, and speeches. His concept of equality came from his experiences while growing up during the time of the Civil Rights Movement. He held three main ideological positions due to his place in history; they are his values during the so-called 'Beat Generation', his Black Nationalist period, and his Marxist-Leninist period.

Perhaps, to better understand his ethics, one must look at his upbringing and lifestyle. Everette Leroy Jones was born on October 7, 1934 in the industrial city of Newark, New Jersey. His parents, Colt LeRoy Jones and Anna Lois Jones, were two lower-middle class workers who held jobs as a postal supervisor and social worker, respectively (Young 1). Leroy went to public schools in Newark, and graduated from Barringer High School in 1951. He was offered many scholarships, but accepted the one from Rutgers University. However, he was disappointed in Rutgers, and transferred to Howard University. There he studied chemistry before turning to psychology and literature. In 1954 he ended his college career and joined the US Air Force. While there, he came interested in modern literature and poetry, reading whenever possibl...

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...on reference that will always try to explain why I was saying both how and for what (Poetry 1).


Works Cited

Young, Vershawn. "Report on Amiri Baraka." April 28, 1999. 5 March 2001.

"Baraka: Biography and Historical Context." 26 February 2001.

"About Amiri Baraka." 26 February 2001.

"Amiri Baraka." 20 February2001.

"BARTS." 4 March 2001.

"Poetry Previews: Amiri Baraka (LeRoi Jones)." 6 March 2001.

"Poetic Style in Amiri Barka's Black Art." CLA Journal (December 1988)
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