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BARAKA--Amiri, The American Academy of Arts and Letters notes with sorrow the death of our distinguished colleague. He was a leader in the Black Arts movement 50 years ago; of his reputation as a controversial voice then, he later described himself as a "revolutionary optimist."

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in New York Times on Jan. 12, 2014.
Memories & Condolences
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121 entries
July 13, 2016
Valenda Newell
August 29, 2015
Amiri, I love you for all. Your life has been inspiration to generations to be born. May your soul rest in perfect peace.
From Charles Akinde, Nigeria.
May 9, 2014
Condolences for your loss My you have under serve kindness and peace from God our Father and The Lord Jesus Christ Romans 1:7
Feed Richmond
April 30, 2014
God will remember us in his book of may we endure until then.
April 28, 2014
This was truly an amazing person with so much talent the loss is clearly ours. Prayers fill our hearts and burst forth from our mouths to God asking him to let us remember clearly the love we have for this wonderful person gone from our lives never forgetting the joy we shared. Hebrews 6:10.
April 23, 2014
I am so sorry to hear this. My thoughts are with Amiri's family. Your poetry is and will always be influential in my writing.
February 26, 2014
The loss of a loved one is one of the hardest pains to deal with. Please take comfort in the bibles message of a new world without sickness and death.
February 18, 2014
My deepest sympathies to the family and friends of Mr. Baraka's. May God comfort and sustain you during this time of sadness.
February 12, 2014
Draw close to God and he will draw close to you. James 4:8.
February 11, 2014
Dear Baraka Family know that you are surrounded with love and light in this say time. Thanks for sharing brother Amiri with us. We are are all enriched by his voice and wisdom.
Denise Rouse
February 9, 2014
Brother Amiri Baraka, a prolific writer, poet, playwright, who was once a poet laureate for the state of New Jersey, is best known for his dedication and devotion to the people. His leadership and activism in this country and in the world had wide and deep influence on arts and culture as well as the quality of life.

Baraka was the architect leading political activism especially in Newark, New Jersey. He engineered historic and dramatic changes in the schools, founding a school himself with his wife, Amina.

Baraka was the guest at Malcolm X Shabazz High School which his movement renamed in 1972. On one occasion he artfully and skillfully delivered his famous poem "Somebody Blew Up America" which awed the students and teachers.

Condolences to the Baraka family and to the community on his passing.

The South Side/Malcolm X Shabazz High School Alumni Association
80 Johnson Avenue, Newark, New Jersey
SSMXSHS Alumni Assn Witcher
January 30, 2014
May God. Continue. To. Bless. You. All. I. Want. To. Thank. You. For. Helping. Me. Be. Myself. Imamu Amiri. Baraka!
Angela Coleman
January 22, 2014
My deepest condolences to the family,He will be missed by many,my prayer for the family is peace.
Arnell Moss
January 22, 2014
When I first met him in 1972,I knew my calling as a revolutionary artist.
Michael Terron
January 21, 2014
Darlene Ramseur
January 21, 2014
to the family of amiri Baraka. you have my deepest and god bless you. the lee,brown,smith and gary family
gwendolyn smith,gary
January 18, 2014
My condolences to the Baraka family. May God continue to keep and strengthen you all. Peace and blessings.
Joy Johnson
January 18, 2014
Amiri Baraka, controversial to some, and comforting to others, no matter what you think of him, he was an inspiration to many, as he challenged you to examine who you are and why you are. Many of our former students at Upward Bound (Bridgeport, CT) will be thankful for the role he played in their awakening, as will I. May he rest in Yahweh's eternal peace.
Tariq Shakoor
January 18, 2014
my deepest sympathy to the Baraka Family..May Allah continue to bless the family...

Aminah, Al-Jathiyah , & Boys...(Newark NJ)
January 18, 2014
May your hearts soon be filled with wonderful memories of joyful times together as you celebrate a life well lived.
January 18, 2014
My condolences to the Baraka family. May God bring comfort to the family in this time of bereavement.
Sabrina Massey
January 17, 2014
Condolences to the family for your loss.
Jimmy Wilson
January 17, 2014
Thank you for touching my life in so many ways. Kenny atl. Ga
January 17, 2014
To Amina & Family:
It's an honor & privilege to join you in the celebration of our Beloved Amiri's life and work. He influenced my life and inspired me in ways I cannot begin to explain, particularly during my work in Newark. His knowledge of history combined with his wit and wisdom inspired me and helped craft many of our projects from "Nation of Poets" at National Black Arts Festival to "Lost Jazz Shrines" at NJPAC. He was a mighty WARRIOR and I am BLESSED to have known him.
Stephanie Hughley
January 17, 2014
Our deapest sympathy to the Baraka Family, former african free school students, from the Harris , Patterson & the Richard Families.
Anthony Patterson Jr
January 17, 2014
May your loving memories combine with God's unconditional love and sure promises to comfort you as we lean on His everlasting

arms and look forward with hope to the day of everlasting life and joy.

My prayers are with you, your family and friends.


Stan Daniels
Stan Daniels
January 17, 2014
January 17, 2014
To Amina Baraka and family:
Here in North Carolina I am always telling my students about the many contributions that you and your husband as authors and leaders have made to the black community. We are very proud of your family. I will never forget. The Elegant Ladies.
Alice Robinson Singley, Zebulon, NC
January 17, 2014
You were a warrior and an inspiration. Definitely gave me courage as a young writer while in College. Thank you and I hope you're enjoying your next journey.
Aisha Sterrett
January 16, 2014
May God bless you and your family in this time of sorrow.
delane riley
January 16, 2014
January 16, 2014
Zaheerah Muhammad
January 16, 2014
A powerful voice for change and a champion of the voiceless, may you rest in peace.
Darryl Jackson
January 16, 2014
January 16, 2014
My Heart Goes out to the family and friends! Please read the wonderful hope God Promised at John 6:40.
January 16, 2014
I do not find the quasar strange
Or far
Black hole centered
Infinite range
From then
In now
Of me and Amiri

I do not fear the matter is dark
Or inferred
Nor truly understood
And there
On cosmological ground
Where we found Baraka

January 16, 2014
Belated condolences to the family. Once again, the news of the transition of one of our greatest soldiers did not reach this 'neck of the woods.' NewArk is better because of his having a voice. I know because I was there. May God bless each of you.
Von Boone-Randolph
January 16, 2014
you are in my prayers and may he rest in peace
January 16, 2014
My sympathy to the family and friends of Amiri Baraka.
Shanna Hayes
January 16, 2014
The day a light went out around the world

I opened up the news page only to read Amiri Baraka, dead at 79. I think to myself, no this can't be.
Not this great man of consciousness, awareness, love & pride for the people.
Not the sheepherder that tended to the flock by teaching and imparting wisdom & direction.
Not him, not now, not at the time when it appears we need his light more than ever.
AND then I realized, today, this day, that day…is the day a light went out around the world.
It only took one time in his presence to jolt you into awareness.
It only took one time for you to hear him speak to be shaken into consciousness.
That day came for me in junior high, a kid in 7th grade.
His words set a fire in my soul that carried me into an awakening.
Every day for the rest of my life, I would know:
“We are my people, we build each other up. It is up to us.”
That light he shone was contagious and powerful, admirable, distinguished, controversial, prolific….
That light he shone, touched many and ignited a fire for knowledge, wisdom and action.
That light that our young people are so desperately in need of, that light that ushered us into seeking understanding of our journey as a people.
That light that went out around the world, the day God called you home.

My sincerest Condolences to the Baraka Family. Thank you all for allowing him to share his light around the world.
Tawana J
January 16, 2014
My prayers and thoughts are with the Baraka family at this time we have lost a great leader.
M.A Alexander
January 16, 2014
To A Fantastic Person, May you rest in peace and except your rewards for a job well done.
Juanita Pattterson
January 16, 2014
A true Newarker! Peace and God's many blessings to the Baraka family today and always.
Lynda Thornes
January 16, 2014
We have lost a good teacher.May we honor his memory and good works.My condolences to his immediate and worldwide family. He is now at rest until we meet again.
January 16, 2014
To The Baraka Family I'm So sorry For Your Loss May God Bring Comfort To You All. God Bless.
Tanya Peterson
January 16, 2014
my sincere heartfelt condolence to your immediate and worldwide family. we are saddened by your departure and glad that you will be paving a place for our reunion.
miller family
January 16, 2014
Another great warrior has left our ranks. May his spirit live on.
Gloria Duff
January 16, 2014
From Labor to Blessed Reward
Jacque Dunn-Toler
January 15, 2014
To a friend I knew many years ago as a teenager. Your influence to many over the years are for the ages. My deepest sympathy to your family and friends for their lost.
Aloma Law
January 15, 2014
May you continues to live an honorable life amongst the stars. The night sky welcomes the indomitable twinkle of your piercing eyes as you speak to our souls through the cosmic mist we shall listen as we always have.
Dedan Gills
January 15, 2014
Thank you for living out loud,not biting your tongue and Loving us into consciousness!
Shirley Wilkerson
January 15, 2014
My condolences to the family. A tower has fallen from our eyes but lives as an ancestor who will, in his work and his spirit, guide us and the generations forward. I will miss his presence that marked any event as weighty and important.
T. Rasul Murray
January 15, 2014
My deepest sympathy and condolences to the family, friends, and loved ones of brother Amiri Baraks. Your light and your legacy will live inspiration and hope to the people. Thank you for all of the gifts that you have shared. May the ancestors welcome you with open arms...offering you praise for a job well done. May u rest in peace and power!
Deborah Grant
January 14, 2014
I will never forget the time i was able to spend with him at the Red Cat Jazz club in Houston, after he performed at the Hermann Park, including his 'infamous' 'Somebody Blew up Amerikka" . For days before the performance Jewish orgs worked to prevent it from going on threatening our esteemed elder He will be sorely missed but certainly now a force for us in the realm of the Egungun.
January 14, 2014
Back in the day we didn't really know what was going to happen next. Scared, angry and frustrated all I could do was listen though not undertanding. Today I think we all have finally learned something. Most of all I want to say thanks to you Amiri... Solitary Sister from the Bronx
January 14, 2014
It has been said that "all of the darkness in the world cannot extinguish the light of a single candle." Amiri Baraka, you were and will always be that light. Thank you for giving such light to our hearts, minds, and souls with your beautiful and most powerful words.
Lia Gaines
January 14, 2014
The Bible says, "A good name is better than good oil..." Certainly, Amiri Baraka has established a good name and will be dearly missed. May the God of all comfort be with family and friends at this time.
Angel S
January 14, 2014
To: The Baraka Family our deepest sympathies go out to you may God give you the comfort and may the soul of your loved one rest in peace
Terrence and Peggy Newberry
January 14, 2014
Amiri Baraka , Cephus "Uncle Bobby" Johnson , Beatrice X Oakland, Ca 2011
Our heart thoughts a prayers go out to your family for such a loss, we share the pain of your great loss because he is a great loss to all he has ever touched with his powerful gift to awaken. Rest In Power Bro Amiri Baraka from The Oscar Grant Family & The Oscar Grant Foundation
Beatrice X Johnson
January 14, 2014
You were the man! - Forever your sistah in the struggle, Azora Irby of Washington, DC
January 14, 2014
All power to the people.
Jacqui Boykin
January 14, 2014
You will always live in our hearts as your legacy continues through your family. Your poetry will continue to be read, admired and educate across the country. Those you have touched in so many different ways will always have the memories. Now you must go and rest along side of your daughter- job well done... My sincere condolences and constant prayers for the Baraka family..
Kesha Smith
January 13, 2014
Newark has lost a great leader, you will be missed, thanks for all you have done for our city!
Colleen Mc
January 13, 2014
Rip you will not before gotten you're works will live on
Nancy MillerBrown
January 13, 2014
We would like to offer our deepest condolences and sympathy to the family, friends and fans of Amiri Baraka.

Job Well Done Warrior.

Rest In Peace (RIP) ! ! !

Charles Douglas Edwards
Tuskegee / Morehouse
Charles Douglas Edwards
January 13, 2014
Our deepest condolences to the family of Amiri Baraka. His mark will forever remain. RIP
January 13, 2014
I was introduced to the poetry of Amiri Baraka when he was Leroi Jones on the island of Barbados where I grew up. His poetry lit up my world and I continue to be lit by it to this day. I felt privileged to meet him one day by chance in the Pathmark supermarket and I felt as if I was meeting a high priest. There was something powerful emanating from him. Last year I felt blessed and humbled to sit in an audience and hear him read his poetry .It was a Columbus day I will not forget. I was also struck by his statuesque and beautiful wife. I was shocked when I spoke about his poetry to a Newarker that many of them had a man of such great talent among them and they did not know of whom I spoke. Will someone please put together some after school literacy programs for Newark children. Show them the talent that is revered all over the world that comes out of Newark. One day I hope I can do this. I feel as if something great has gone out of the world. A Bard of this city has passed over. We still have his writings to console us. I know his family are heart broken . I do not want to say anything careless or common place in their time of grief. I just want them to understand that there are people outside of Newark in other parts of the world that saw their family as black royalty and felt privileged that Amiri Baraka was in the world.And we say thank you. Doreen Lewis
January 12, 2014
I am so very sorry for your loss. Amiri Baraka was a very passion man who will be missed. Please find comfort and solace from Daniel 12:13, a promise that we can see our loved ones again.
T. P.
January 12, 2014
I extend my sincere condolences to Mrs. Amina Baraka and family. I hold close to my heart the cherished memories of Amiri Baraka at this time. I was a teenager attending Arts High School on High Street, down the street from The Committee for Unified Newark, Nyumba Ya Ujamaa, and The Spirit House on Stirling Street. Because of (Imamu) Amiri Baraka, I learned what was not taught in high school i.e. Black History, the politics of NewArk, NJ (and the world), Kiswahili, poetry, music through The Black Arts Movement. At Nyumba Ya Ujamaa, I purchased my Red, Black and Green Liberation flag, Afrikan music albums, incense, Chairman Mao's Little Red Book, the Speeches of Malcolm X, and taught myself Kiswahili from the language book sold there. And who could forget Soul Sessions on Sunday evenings at CFUN?!
Years later, it was a comfort to see Amiri Baraka still walking the streets of NewArk, with his graying afro and beard giving him a learned countenance; he was still very much a part of me and my city. He always will be. Asante Sana Baba!
Jacqueline Butterfield
January 11, 2014
Mr baraka i want to thank you for giving me the opportunity to part of community to unify newark, You change Newark for the better, thank you sir and god bless your family. you always quoting stand tall son.
Al Amin
January 11, 2014
LeRoi Jones, z''l, as I knew him, was concerned genuinely about the inequities of society. Through our several discussions, at the Cedar Street Bar, experiencing "Dutchman," and reading hi poetry, I sensed an unquenchable fire within him.

I recall fondly "bending the elbow," at the Five Spot, with LeRoi and A. B. Spellman, listening to Thelonius Monk.

We both attended the opening of the 8th Street Book Store in its new location. I was the one to break the news to him that Malcolm X had been assassinated that day. He took the news very hard.

I wish his family and friends peace and understanding that LeRoi really did make a difference in this world.
Charles Rotenberg
January 11, 2014
The loss of a loved one can be so hard. Please have comfort in God 's love. 1 Cor. 15:26
January 11, 2014
Frustrated Revolutionary and Lover of the Arts
Brother You enlighted and now you are a Hero among our Ancestors. Malcolm,Huey,Eldridge,and Geronimo Pratt will welcome you in Paradise.
Atno Smith
January 11, 2014
My sincere condolences are for the family, friends, and colleagues of Mr. Amiri Baraka, a man who so longed for the end of the domination and injury of one man towards another as recorded at Ecclesiastes 8:9. It impresses me that Mr. Baraka encourage so many to allow themselves to grow despite that oppression. Very shortly when God's kingdom government with Christ as appointed King takes over rulership of the earth as we pray for, the word partiality will not be found in the dictionary as it will not be a conduct amongst men –Acts 10: 34-35. What a joy it will be to meet Mr. Baraka and enjoy his awe in a world when the dignity, peace, and justice he longed for will prevail over every inch of this earth without end –Isaiah 9:6-7. May you find comfort in these promises as you heal from this loss.
January 11, 2014
My heartfelt sympathy goes out to your family at this most difficult time. Be assured that God will help you cope with the heavy weight of your loss.
January 11, 2014
My family and I, wish to offer our condolences to the Baraka family.
The memories I have of Amiri are many but all are founded with respect and admiration.
I met and worked with the brothers and sisters of (CFUN) the committee for united newark.
I was already an activist at the young age of 14, looking to find my place in the world. Brother Amiri and wife Amina helped me see that to have a voice was important and improving our lot required work and study.
As a result of his influences the Newark Student Federation in Newark fostered a broad based network of high school students organized to improve the quality of education in our city.
Brothers like (Adhimu Chunga - Larry Hamm , (Bavu - James Benjamin) and the like were influenced as I was to orgainize to change our collective lot.
As a result of Amiri's magic words many of us became leaders in our own right - as community leaders,union organizers , functional artist and purposeful adults.
We will miss Amiri Baraka , I pray that he will inherit Jenna - Inshallah
Hodari Lee
January 11, 2014
My condolences to your family. God is the hearer of prayer psalm65:2. Pray to him for comfort
January 11, 2014
May God bless you and your family in this time of sorrow.
January 11, 2014
My condolences to the family. Continue to rely on God during this difficult time and know that he hears your prayers: Isaiah 59:1.
January 11, 2014
To the family of Mr. Baraka, I am very sorry for your loss. For just as in Adam all are dying, so also in the Christ all will be made alive. 1 Corinthians 15:22
January 11, 2014
I'm very sorry for your loss. may the "God of all comfort" bring you peace during this troubling time.
January 11, 2014
Dear family may the comfort only God can give be with you in the days ahead.
January 10, 2014
I remember as a teenager going to a rally in Orange, New Jersey where Mr. Baraka spoke. It made such a great difference it made to the redevelopment of our educational system. Introducing Black History to our school's curriculum and changing the way we thought of ourselves and others.
Extending to his family my sincere condolences and prayers for their comfort. He will be remembered by many.
Martha Smith-Peachey
January 10, 2014
To the Family and Friends of Amiri Baraka,
My sincere condolences for the loss of your loved one. May the God of comfort give you perfect peace.
God Bless You All.
Kim Scriven-Laramore
January 10, 2014
BLACK PRIDE is a beautiful thing this is truly the ROSe that Rose up throught the concrete and Lifted us all forecefully.Thanks for waking us up.
January 10, 2014
To my family –

. . .my heart is broken to read and hear about my brother passing from one deamination to the next.

Rest in peace and definitely much love MR. AMIRI BARAKA.

Olivia – Twain Harte, CA
Olivia Lombard
January 10, 2014
I first became aware of Amiri Baraka in
1963 when he (as LeRoi Jones) wrote the Apple Cores column in Down Beat Magazine. I was a white teenage boy learning about jazz. Little did I know that I was on the beginning of a long journey as a reader of his work.
I continued to follow this intense individualist through many volumes of
prose and poetry as I continued to evolve in understanding some of the
complexities of race relations and
the integral role this plays in the
music though which I have lived my
adult life. My sincere condolences to
the family and friends of this gifted and uncompromising man and artist.
Johnny Case
January 10, 2014
To The Baraka Family,

May The Heavenly Father Bless you with strength during your time of bereavement.
Mr. Baraka was a friend of my father in Newark, N.J.
I was able to contact Mr. Baraka via e-mail a few years back.

May God Bless you all.

Ronald and Wanda Conwell and Family
Ronald Conwell
January 10, 2014
To the friends and family of Mr. Baraka, sorry for your loss. My condolences are with you all. May the memories shared together help bring you all some comfort during this time.
January 10, 2014
There will never be likes of this great warrior again.
Peace, my brother.
Cynthia Mason-Matcho
January 10, 2014
Fight The Good Fight!
Brother Baraka reminds me of the Oscar Wilde quote "Art Imitates Life". This rings true for this great and wise man. Condolences to the family and Rest In Peace Bro.Baraka
John Kidd
January 10, 2014
Amiri was courageous and uncompromising in his love for what should be, not what was, or what is. He resisted all that would suppress and oppress the human spirit. Amiri, the fire still burns in all of us who heard your voice many years ago and still hear it today.
Larry Hartwick
January 10, 2014
May your hearts soon be filled with wonderful memories of joyful times together as you celebrate a life well lived.
January 10, 2014
Amiri Baraka was one of my African Studies Professors at SUNY Stony Brook. Being in his classed changed the way I viewed myself and the world. I am lucky to have had been in is presence.
January 10, 2014
To the Baraka family, you have my deepest sympathy during this time of bereavement. My prayers are with you, the extended family and friends of Amiri Baraka. Thank you all for sharing the presence of such a Great Man. He touched many lives not just in Newark, but throughout various states and beyond. God Bless!!!
K. Martin
January 10, 2014
Sorry for your loss. May you find comfort in God's Word the Bible.
January 10, 2014
With deepest sympathy.
Ann S. Reynolds
January 10, 2014
I send my deepest condolences. May God be with your family in this time of grief.
January 10, 2014
January 10, 2014
"What is most precious because it is lost, what is lost because it is most precious" My favorite writer. Rest in peace, master poet. You left the world better than you found it. I will never forget you. I treasure all the writings.
Anna Schneider
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