Amiri Baraka Biography | Author of The Baptism

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Amiri Baraka was born Everett LeRoy Jones on October 7, 1934, in Newark, New Jersey. (He changed LeRoy to LeRoi in the early 1950s.) His family was solidly middle class; his father, Coyette Leroy Jones, was a postal worker and an elevator operator, and his mother, Anna Lois Russ Jones, was a social worker. He was one of the few black students at his high school.

Jones started college at Rutgers University on a science scholarship but later transferred to the predominantly black Howard University in Washington, D.C., where he studied philosophy, religion, German, and English literature. While Jones gained a broad understanding of literature and art from his studies at Howard under the tutelage of such prominent African-American intellectuals as Sterling Brown and E. Franklin Frazier, he would later accuse the university of encouraging limited and bourgeois thinking among African Americans. During college and in later years, he...

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This section contains 670 words
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