(born October 7, 1934), formerly known as LeRoi Jones
, is an American writer of poetry, drama
, and music criticism
. An often controversial figure, he is the author of numerous books of poetry and has taught at a number of universities, including the State University of New York at Buffalo
and the State University of New York at Stony Brook
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. His mother, Anna Lois (née
Russ), was a social worker. In 1967 he adopted the African name Imamu Amear Baraka, which he later changed to Amiri Baraka.
Baraka studied at Rutgers
, and Howard
Universities, leaving each without a degree, and the New School for Social Research
. 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. His major fields of study were philosophy
. Baraka also served two years in the U.S. Air Force
as a gunner. Baraka continued his studies of comparative literature at Columbia University.
Baraka studied philosophy and religion at Rutgers University, Columbia University and Howard University without obtaining a degree. In 1954 he joined the US Air Force
, reaching the rank of sergeant.
After an anonymous letter to his commanding officer accusing him of being a......