Papers of Amiri Baraka: Poet Laureate of the Black Power Movement.


This collection of Amiri Baraka materials was made available by Dr. Komozi Woodard. He collected these documents during his career as an activist in Newark, New Jersey. The collection consists of rare works of poetry, organizational records, print publications, over one hundred articles, poems, plays, and speeches by Baraka, a small amount of personal correspondence, and oral histories. The collection has been arranged into eighteen series. These series are: (1) Black Arts Movement; (2) Black Nationalism; (3) Correspondence; (4) Newark (New Jersey); (5) Congress of African People; (6) National Black Conferences and National Black Assembly; (7) Black Women's United Front; (8) Student Organization for Black Unity; (9) African Liberation Support Committee; (10) Revolutionary Communist League; (11) African Socialism; (12) Black Marxists; (13) National Black United Front; (14) Miscellaneous Materials, 1978-1988; (15) Serial Publications; (16) Oral Histories; (17) Woodard's Office Files. The dates range is between 1913-1998 with 9,297 images via the Auburn Avenue Research Library on African American Culture and History, Atlanta-Fulton Public Library System (Komozi Woodard Amiri Baraka Papers, Archives Division).

Detailed Description:

The extensive documentation of this collection includes poetry, organizational records, print publications, articles, plays, speeches, personal correspondence, oral histories, as well as some personal records. The materials cover Baraka's involvement in the politics in Newark, N.J. and in Black Power movement organizations such as the Congress of African People, the National Black Conference movement, the Black Women's United Front. Later materials document Baraka's increasing involvement in Marxism.

Series I: Black Arts Movement, 1961-1998

This series includes both rare and popular materials from Baraka's years as a leader of the Harlem-based Black Arts movement. Two articles by Baraka's associate Larry Neal, one discussing Baraka's literary career and the other discussing the importance of culture in the Black liberation struggle, serve as an introduction to this series. Several issues of the periodical Black Theatre include poems by Baraka; articles by Neal, Maulana Karenga, and Ed Bullins; and plays by Sonia Sanchez, Marvin X, Herbert Stokes, and Baraka. Other literary material can be found in two issues of The Cricket, a magazine edited by Baraka and Neal. This series also includes works of poetry by Baraka, Nikki Giovanni, Mae Jackson, Sylvia Jones (Amina Baraka}, Jewel C. Latimore (Johari Amini), Don L. Lee (Haki R. Madhubuti), Sonia Sanchez, and Marvin X. The Black Arts movement series documents the wellspring of artistic accomplishment among African Americans as well as a profound political consciousness and militancy among the artists.

Series II: Black Nationalism,, 1964-1977

This series consists of several important theoretical writings on Black nationalism and suggests the important influence of Maulana Karenga on Baraka's development. Baraka's article "A Black Value System" explains the seven guiding principles of Maulana Karenga and the Us Organization. These principles are also defined in two articles by Karenga: "7 Principles of Us Maulana Karenga and the Need for a Black Value System" and "Kitabu: Beginning Concepts in Kawaida." This series concludes with a pamphlet by Muhammad Ahmad that discusses many aspects of Black nationalism including the roles of youth and women and the importance of literature and art.

Series III: Correspondence, 1967-1973

This brief series includes a small amount of Baraka's personal correspondence. There are letters from Baraka to Maulana Karenga and Kenneth Gibson and letters to Baraka from Mfanasekaya P. Gqobose, Paul Bomani, and Walter Rodney. The correspondence indicates Baraka's interest in cultural nationalism and some of his efforts to establish ties between African people everywhere.

Series IV: Newark (New Jersey), 1913-1980

This series documents Baraka's role in his hometown of Newark, New Jersey...

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