Amiri Baraka

(3718 words)
  • Alex Houen (University of Cambridge)

Born Everett LeRoy Jones on 7 October 1934 in Newark, New Jersey, Amiri Baraka was soon to understand there the significance of belonging to a working-class African American family. As he comments in his Autobiography (1984), “the color code of class distinction taught me early what America was” (p. 22). His father, Coyette “Coyt” LeRoy Jones, had repeatedly moved with his family to escape racism before settling in Newark, where he was to work for many years as a clerk in the Post Office. Baraka’s mother, Anna Lois Jones, worked in various sweatshops in Newark before taking an administrative job in the Office of Dependency Benefits after the outbreak of World War II. Despite the prevalence of poverty …

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Houen, Alex. "Amiri Baraka". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 27 February 2009
[, accessed 04 July 2015.]

Articles on Baraka's works

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Related Groups

  1. The Beats
  2. African American Poetry
  3. African American Drama