Writings of the general word's body

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Amiri Baraka

Amiri Baraka profiled in the Review section of yesterday's Guardian - excerpt...

"It was the influence of the African liberation movement, the anti-colonial movement," Baraka says. "We were very much impressed by that. And remember that, for a long time, to be called an 'African' was, for a black American, insulting. So we began to take pride in that, and to say, well, we don't want to have our slave names - that is, the names that had been given us." Baraka would not claim to have introduced the revolutionary tune into African-American literature. "The stream is quite clear, the insistence that black life was more precious than it was treated as in America. You see it in Richard Wright, even in Langston Hughes - that sensitivity to abuse. Go back to Frederick Douglass, an escaped slave writing some of the most beautiful prose in the 19th century - the determination to speak out is there. It just gets more directly rebellious. When you stand on these people's shoulders, you are obliged to move from criticism to defiance."

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