Celebrating the extraordinary life of Amiri Baraka

AUTODIDACT 17 | 1/23/2014, 11:53 a.m.
A cadre of activists, artists, intellectuals, politicians and revolutionaries convened at the Metropolitan Baptist Church in Newark, N.J., last Friday ...
Amina Baraka leaves the funeral. Hakim Mutlaq photo

David White, a founding member of the original Black Panther Party from Harlem, added: “Baraka visualized our dreams, our aspirations and also our nightmares. He was a master who will never die, because his words will go on forever!”

Cornell West speaks at the funeral.

Cornell West speaks at the funeral.

As a communiversity activist, Baraka conducted class in the streets of the concrete jungle, as well as in institutions. Teaching at the State University of New York at Stony Brook for two decades and lecturing at numerous colleges allowed him to creatively influence an entire generation of scribes.

“Even with all his success, he never left his community. You always saw him with young people marching in the streets against violence, police brutality … for civil rights, for better housing,” said Small. “He made extraordinary contributions to how Africans throughout the Diaspora saw themselves and their struggle. He taught us how to use our culture, our art, to advance that struggle.”

Abiodun recited “We Be, Because He Was” in honor of his mentor, and then commented: “He left us enough work to give us a good blueprint as to what we should be about.”

Yarbrough closed by quoting Baraka’s book, “Blues People”: “‘Every closed eye ain’t asleep, every goodbye ain’t gone’ … he’s not gone because his works live on. We now have benefitted because of what he has done!”