But when a man who sees the world one way becomes the slave of a man who interprets the world in exactly the opposite way, the result is, to my mind, the worst possible kind of slavery.
Amiri Baraka QuotesShowing all quotes
|Birth:||7th October, 1934|
|Profession:||Activist, Actor, Director, Poet, Producer, Teacher, Writer|
Baraka was born Everett LeRoi Jones in Newark, New Jersey, where he attended Barringer High School. His father, Coyt Leverette Jones, worked as a postal supervisor and lift operator. He won a scholarship to Rutgers University in 1951, but a continuing sense of cultural dislocation prompted him to transfer in 1952 to Howard University, which he left without obtaining a degree. His major fields of study were philosophy and religion. Baraka subsequently studied at Columbia University and the New School for Social Research without obtaining a degree.
In 1954, he joined the US Air Force as a gunner, reaching the rank of sergeant. After an anonymous letter to his commanding officer accusing him of being a communist led to the discovery of Soviet writings, Baraka was put on gardening duty and given a dishonorable discharge for violation of his oath of duty. The same year, he moved to Greenwich Village working initially in a warehouse for music records. His interest in jazz began during this period. At the same time he came into contact with avant-garde Beat Generation, Black Mountain College and New York School poets. In 1958 he married Hettie Cohen and founded Totem Press, which published such Beat icons as Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg. Their literary magazine Yugen lasted for eight issues (1958–62). Baraka also worked as editor and critic for Kulchur (1960–65). With Diane DiPrima he edited the first twenty-five issues (1961–63) of their little magazine Floating Bear.
Baraka visited Cuba in July 1960 with a Fair Play for Cuba Committee delegation and reported his impressions in his essay Cuba libre. In 1961 Baraka co-authored a Declaration of Conscience in support of Fidel Castro's regime. Baraka also was a member of the Umbra Poets Workshop of emerging Black Nationalist writers on the Lower East Side (1962–65). He had begun to be a politically active artist.
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