Writing icon Amiri Baraka (1934-2014)

Prominent literary figure and activist Amiri Baraka,79, died on January 9 from complications after surgery following a long illness, according to NPR.

The world knew him as a writer, scholar, activist, poet and author who flipped the political and social realms on their head with his unapologetic tone and profound words.

He always spoke his mind and never ceased to remind African Americans of their historical importance within this country. Baraka completely altered my theories on black music after I read his highly significant book Blues People, which was one of the early academic volumes on the history of African American music.

I had the honor of hearing him speak last year at the Charles H.Wright Museum of African American History and I was truly inspired by his passionate lecture on wanting the country to build a united front and cease the destructive path that it is on. (To read more about Baraka’s lecture at the museum, click here)

I will be dedicating my Black History Month series on the blues to Mr. Baraka, who first fueled my interest in learning about the history of music. He truly impacted many people, including myself, with his eloquent and mind-blowing thoughts, and for that we are so grateful to have had him with us.

Our deepest thoughts and prayers go out to the entire Baraka family.

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