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A Nation Within a Nation:
Sarah Lawrence College professor Komozi Woodard convincingly argues that Amiri Baraka was not only the most original black poet, author, dramatist, and cultural critic to emerge from the 1960s but also that era's most important nexus between the politics and artistic movements. "The serious study of Black Power," he writes, "must begin with an examination of its most important experiments ... specifically, the leadership of Amiri Baraka and the dynamics of black cultural nationalism." Woodard details Baraka's visit to revolutionary Cuba and the influence of Patrice Lumumba on his thinking; the black-arts movement Baraka helped found and the black/Puerto Rican coalitions he forged; his ambitious but flawed housing ventures in Newark, New Jersey; and his heroic efforts to hold together the 1972 National Black Political Convention in Gary, Indiana. Woodard weaves a complex picture detailing the ascendance of a modern cultural icon and the political landscape he helped create. --Eugene Holley Jr. [via]