- Last Poets (Group)
- Call number
- Sc Mg 682
- Physical description
- .4 linear feet (1 box)
- Preferred Citation
- "Right On!" collection, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Manuscripts, Archives and Rare Books Division, The New York Public Library
- Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Manuscripts, Archives and Rare Books Division
- Access to materials
- Advance notice required. Request access to this collection.
The collection contains poems recited in the film, contracts, newspaper ad layouts, advertisements, press releases, a press kit, foreign correspondence regarding theater inquiries, national and international reviews of the film, articles about the cast members and legal documents relating to the suit brought by Hassan, et al.
The Last Poets, (David Nelson, Gylan Kain, and Abiodun Oyewole), were "born" on the anniversary of Malcolm X's birthday, May 19, 1968 in Marcus Garvey Park. They took their name from a poem by South African poet Willie Kgositsile, who posited the necessity of putting aside poetry in the face of looming revolution. The group eventually grew from three poets and a drummer to encompass seven young black and Hispanic artists: Felipe Luciano, Umar Bin Hassan, Jalal Nurridin, and Suliamn El Hadi, in addition to the three original members.
By 1971, the group had splintered into three factions. One of those factions included Gylan Kain, David Nelson, and Felipe Luciano, (who eventually took the name "The Original Last Poets"). They collectively wrote and starred in the 1971 film "Right On!," which was directed by Herbert Danska and produced by Woodie King, Jr. Much of "Right On!" was shot entirely on a rooftop in Harlem, where each poet, accompanied by drummers, incant their poetry for nearly 80 minutes. "Right On!" explores various themes including racism, conservatives, intellectuals and the Black Power Movement.
The same year, Hassan, and two non-original members of the group, Nilaja and Alafia Pudim, who had been recording professionally as "The Last Poets," brought a lawsuit against Kain, Nelson, Luciano, and Juggernaut Records, attempting to restrain the latter group's use of the name "The Original Last Poets" or "The Last Poets.".
Source of acquisition
- African American authors
- African American poets
- African Americans in motion pictures
- American poetry -- African American authors
- Black power
- Motion pictures, American
- Oral interpretation of poetry
- Political poetry, American
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