- Baraka, Amiri, 1934-2014
- Call number
- Sc MG 279
- Physical description
- 1.6 linear feet
- Preferred Citation
- Amiri Baraka collection of playscripts, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, The New York Public Library
- Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Manuscripts, Archives and Rare Books Division
- Access to materials
- Restricted access.
The Amiri Baraka Collection of Playscripts includes more than thirty plays and screenplays including such early works as "The Toilet" (1964) in addition to "Jello," "Slave Ship," and "S-1." Some items have been produced and published, but included in the material is a quantity of unproduced and unpublished works. The collection consists of holographs scripts, some with the author's annotations and changes; typescripts, rehearsal scripts, some with changes and productions; production files and a photocopy of a galley.
Imamu Amiri Baraka is a writer whose variety of forms include drama, poetry, music criticism, fiction, autobiography and the essay. As a major and controversial author, his ideas and art - especially, as the primary architect of the Black Arts Movement of the 1960's - have had a profound influence on the direction of subsequent African-American literature.
Baraka was born Everett LeRoi Jones in Newark, New Jersey of working class parents; he attended Rutgers, Howard, and Columbia Universities and the New School for Social Research. He has taught at several universities and founded the Black Arts Repertory Theater School in Harlem in 1964. His literary career began in 1958 when he founded "Yugen" magazine and Totem Press. Although Baraka started publishing in the early 1960's, he did not achieve fame until the 1964 publication of his play "Dutchman," later made into a movie. Other important plays he wrote include "The Slave" (1964) and "Toilet" (1964). A prolific writer, Baraka has published two books of poetry, "Preface to a Twenty Volume Suicide Note" (1961) and "The Dead Lecturer" (1964). The mid 1960's saw the publication of "The System of Dante's Hell," a novel and "Tales," a collection of short stories. Baraka also wrote a major social-aesthetic study of African-American music "Blues People: Negro Music in White America" (1963).
Baraka's career has gone through a series of dramatic stages, from his Beatnik years in the late 1950's through the early 1960's when this apolitical avant garde writer refused to take action in the world to black cultural nationalist, renouncing the white world in the mid-1960's through mid-1970's, to a Marxist-Leninist rejecting monopoly capitalism since the mid-1970's. In 1974, dramatically reversing himself, Baraka rejected black nationalism as racist and became a Third World Socialist. Some critics see Baraka as one of this century's major literary figures who has significantly affected the course of African American literary culture.
Source of acquisitionPurchase, Glenn Horowitz, Bookseller, Inc, 1988
Using the collection
LocationSchomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Manuscripts, Archives and Rare Books Division
515 Malcolm X Boulevard, New York, NY 10037-1801