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Amiri Baraka
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Poet
    (October 7, 1934-January 9, 2014)
    Born in Newark, New Jersey
    Birth name was Everett LeRoi Jones
    Began writing as LeRoi Jones
    Wrote the poetry collections 'Preface to a Twenty Volume Suicide Note' (1961), 'Black Magic' (1969), 'It's Nation Time' (1970), 'Hard Facts' (1975), 'Poetry for the Advanced' (1979), 'Funk Lore: New Poems' (1996) and 'Somebody Blew Up America' (2001)
    Also wrote 'Blues People' (1963), 'The Dutchman and the Slave' (1964), 'Four Black Revolutionary Plays' (1969), 'Raise Race Rays Raize: Essays Since 1965' (1971), 'Daggers and Javelins: Essays 1974-1979' (1984) and 'The Music: Reflections on Jazz and Blues' (1987)
    His first wife, Hettie, wrote a memoir claiming he physically abused her and their children.
    He was sentenced to community service following a fight with his second wife, Amina.
    He became a Marxist in the 70s.
    Several of his poems were denounced as anti-Semitic and homophobic.
    He said, 'We must eliminate the white man before we can draw a free breath on this planet.'
    After being denied tenure by Rutgers (1990), he called the tenure committee 'Ivy League Goebbels' and 'powerful Klansmen.'
    After 9/11, he wrote a poem claiming George W. Bush and Israel were behind the attacks.
    He founded Totem Press (1958), which published works by Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac.
    His play 'Dutchman' won an Obie as best off-Broadway drama (1964).
    He won an American Book Award (1989).
    He appeared in the Warren Beatty film 'Bulworth.'
    His 31-year-old daughter Shani was murdered (2003).

Credit: C. Fishel


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