“No profit in poetry, right? That’s a nation that’s going to hell. What will happen to generations who don’t have poetry? Even illiterate cultures have poetry. Poetry is part of the soul.” (quote from Komozi Woodard March 1990, SLC “Key Issues in African American History” course.)
Komozi Woodard is a professor of history at Sarah Lawrence College. He is the author of A Nation Within a Nation; a co-editor, with Sylviane A. Diouf, of Black Power 50 (The New Press); and the editor of The Black Power Movement, Part I; Freedom North; Groundwork; and Want to Start a Revolution?
During the Black Power Movement, Komozi Woodard served as head of economic development for the Temple of Kawaida in Newark, New Jersey and as editor of Unity and Struggle, the organ of the Congress of African People.
Black Power 50
Sylviane A. Diouf Komozi Woodard
With a foreword by Khalil Gibran Muhammad
The fully illustrated companion to a major exhibit at New York’s Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, a sweeping fiftieth-anniversary retrospective of Black Power in America and around the world
Black Power burst onto the world scene in 1966 with ideas, politics, and fashion that opened the eyes of millions of people across the globe. In the United States, the movement spread like wildfire: high school and college youth organized black student unions; educators created black studies programs; Black Power conventions gathered thousands of people from all walks of life; and books, journals, bookstores, and publishing companies spread Black Power messages and imagery throughout the country and abroad.
The Black Arts Movement inspired the creation of some eight hundred black theaters and cultural centers, where a generation of writers and artists forged a new and enduring cultural vision.
Black Power 50 includes original interviews with key figures from the movement, essays from today’s leading Black Power scholars, and over one hundred stunning images, offering a beautiful and compelling introduction to this pivotal movement.
To purchase the Black Power 50 book go to: The New Press (Books) “Black Power 50”
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.
To purchase the Nation within a Nation book go to:
This collection of Amiri Baraka materials was made available by Dr. Komozi Woodard. The collection consists of rare works of poetry, organizational records, print publications, over one hundred articles, poems, plays, and speeches by Baraka, a small amount of personal correspondence, and oral histories. The collection has been arranged into eighteen series. These series are: (1) Black Arts Movement; (2) Black Nationalism; (3) Correspondence; (4) Newark (New Jersey); (5) Congress of African People; (6) National Black Conferences and National Black Assembly; (7) Black Women’s United Front; (8) Student Organization for Black Unity; (9) African Liberation Support Committee; (10) Revolutionary Communist League; (11) African Socialism; (12) Black Marxists; (13) National Black United Front; (14) Miscellaneous Materials, 1978-1988; (15) Serial Publications; (16) Oral Histories; (17) Woodard’s Office Files; and (18) Audio Visual. Dr. Woodard collected these documents during his career as an activist in Newark, New Jersey.
“Incident” (Poem) BY AMIRI BARAKA
He came back and shot. He shot him. When he came
back, he shot, and he fell, stumbling, past the
shadow wood, down, shot, dying, dead, to full halt.
At the bottom, bleeding, shot dead. He died then, there
after the fall, the speeding bullet, tore his face
and blood sprayed fine over the killer and the grey light.
Pictures of the dead man, are everywhere. And his spirit
sucks up the light. But he died in darkness darker than
his soul and everything tumbled blindly with him dying
down the stairs.
We have no word
on the killer, except he came back, from somewhere
to do what he did. And shot only once into his victim’s
stare, and left him quickly when the blood ran out. We know
the killer was skillful, quick, and silent, and that the victim
probably knew him. Other than that, aside from the caked sourness
of the dead man’s expression, and the cool surprise in the fixture
of his hands and fingers, we know nothing.
Amiri Baraka, “Incident” from Black Magic (Indianapolis: The Bobbs-Merrill Company, 1969). Copyright © 1969 by Amiri Baraka. Reprinted with the permission of Sll/Sterling Lord Literistic, Inc.
Source: Black Magic (1969)
For a basic biography of Amiri Baraka visit the: Poetry Foundation
To Check out Komozi Woodard’s course list at SLC visit: