By: Jacqueline McKay
Amiri Baraka (LeRoi Jones) (Oct. 7, 1934 – Jan. 9, 2014)
We recently lost this prolific Newark-born writer. With more than 50 books including poetry, plays, fiction, essays, critiques and short stories, Amiri Baraka was as controversial as he was loved. His poem ‘Somebody blew up America’ angered many after 9/11, however he is still acclaimed for his play ‘Dutchman’ which first brought him into the spotlight. In this one-act play, Clay and Lulu, an African-American man and a Caucasian woman trade banter on a New York subway car. The two character’s wordplay soon escalates into racially-charged dialogue which ends most unfortunately. Dutchman is an interesting and debatable read.
His words will remain a living testament.