Poet and playwright Amiri Baraka is best known as one of the
African American writers who helped ignite the Black Arts Movement.
This book examines Baraka's cultural approach to Black Power
politics and explores his role in the phenomenal spread of black
nationalism in the urban centers of late-twentieth-century America,
including his part in the election of black public officials, his
leadership in the Modern Black Convention Movement, and his work in
housing and community development.
Komozi Woodard traces Baraka's transformation from poet to
political activist, as the rise of the Black Arts Movement pulled
him from political obscurity in the Beat circles of Greenwich
Village, swept him into the center of the Black Power Movement, and
ultimately propelled him into the ranks of black national political
leadership. Moving outward from Baraka's personal story, Woodard
illuminates the dynamics and remarkable rise of black cultural
nationalism with an eye toward the movement's broader context,
including the impact of black migrations on urban ethos, the
importance of increasing population concentrations of African
Americans in the cities, and the effect of the 1965 Voting Rights
Act on the nature of black political mobilization.