Amiri Barakab. 1934
Amiri Baraka was born LeRoi Jones in Newark, New Jersey, and attended Howard University. After graduating, he moved to New York and joined the Beat literary scene, befriending, among others, the poet Allen Ginsberg. After the death of Malcolm X, he changed his name and joined the Black Nationalist movement, which sought to unite all African Americans around their shared cultural heritage, through diverse, if sometimes extreme, means. In the 1970s, Baraka denounced the movement as narrow, and became a Marxist. Though recently retired after decades of teaching, Baraka continues his prodigious artistic output, based around his message of socialism.