Amiri Baraka's 75th Birthday Celebrations

Photo by Chris Funkhouser
Photo by Chris Funkhouser

It’s a shame that most freedom fighters are usually recognized after they’re gone. We have the opportunity to celebrate a man who has stood up for  justice and equality then and now!!!!!!

Amiri Baraka’s 75th Birthday Celebrations

Greetings All!

Please join us for a series of events planned in recognition of poet, author, playwright and community activist

Amiri Baraka’s 75th Birthday!

Various events around the city of Newark, NJ

Saturday, October 3 – Friday, October 9, 2009


Click here to read The Star-Ledger article by Carrie Stetler, Friday, October 2, 2009

The celebration will center around Baraka’s social activism and his life-long involvement in the arts and politics.

Saturday, October 3
A Jazz Vespers program featuring pianist/composer RANDY WESTON and dedicated to Baraka will be held at Bethany Baptist Church, 275 West Market St., 6:00 p.m. Free will offering.

Tuesday, October 6
There will be an exhibition of Baraka’s drawings at aljira: a Center for Contemporary Art. The opening reception will be held 6:00-8:00 p.m., 591 Broad Street. Free.

Wednesday, October 7
A Birthday Jam at the WISOMMM Cultural Center, 15 James St. will feature a rousing jazz jam session with local and nationally renowned performers, 7:00-11:00 p.m. Light buffet, wine and cash bar. Tickets: NOW $50 (limited seating)
House Band: Pianist Steve Colson, Bassist Andy McCloud and Drummer Pheeroan akLaff
Confirmed performers: Saxophonists Rene Mclean, Bradford Hayes and Leo Johnson; Trombonist Dick Griffin; Bassist / Violinist Henry Grimes, and Vocalists Carrie Jackson, Iqua Colson, Joy Foster, Dwight West, Gene Goldson, Gil “Bebop” Benson and Yvette Glover

Thursday, October 8
Baraka Book and Birthday Bash , a literary event hosted by The Newark Public Library, 5 Washington St., featuring readings by young poets reading Baraka’s poems; short film screenings and a book signing with Amiri Baraka. Doors open at 5:30 pm. Free.

Friday, October 9
A symposium, The Political Evolution of Amiri Baraka, will be held at Central High School Auditorium, 246 18th Avenue, 6:00 p.m. Panelists include Amina Baraka; reporter, poet and activist Felipe Luciano, an original member of the Last Poets and founding member of the Young Lords and Komozi Woodard, author of A Nation Within a Nation. Al-Tariq Shabazz will serve as moderator. Free.

Tuesday, October 13
WordMusic: The Party Continues

Amiri and Amina Baraka will be performing at Skippers Plane Street Pub, 304 University Avenue (at Market St.) in downtown Newark, 973-733-9300. Live poetry and jazz featuring:

Rene McLean, Reeds
Rudy Walker, Drums
Allen Palmer, Piano
Calvin Jones, Bass
Dwight West, Vocals

Good Food, Good Music, Good Vibes!
8:00 & 10:00 pm

($10 house minimum)

Click here: Amiri Baraka reads a poem at Skippers about Sarah Vaughan entitled “Lullabye of Avon Avenue” Video by Noah K. Murray. Courtesy The Star Ledger

For more information:

Details on all events will be posted on the official website at where you can also obtain hotel and travel information.

You may also contact David Muhammad, Planning Committee Chair at (973) 698-9504 or email him at

To order tickets for the Jazz Jam on October 7th or make a tax-deductible contribution, visit the National Black United Fund website and reference Amirib75.
Thank you, and we look forward to seeing you.

Planning Committee

David Muhammad, Chair

Celeste Bateman, Fredrica Bey, Akili Buchanon, Richard Cammarieri, Margaret Cammarieri, Risasi Dais, Victor Davson, Juba Dowdell, Herbert D. Glenn, Roy Hargrove, Jr.,  Mae Jackson, Larry Johnson, Rachel Johnson, Ben Jones, Kellie Jones, Woodie King, Jr., Barbara J. Kukla, Theresa Marshall, Kevin Maynor, Herbie Morgan, Pamela Morgan, Linwood J. Oglesby, Clement A. Price, Ph.D., Leon Purdie, S. George Reed, Antoinette B.Richardson, David Shakes, Philip S. Thomas, Richard Wesley, Valerie Wilson Wesley, Dwight West, Sandra L. West, Junius Williams, Esq., Baye Wilson, Komozi Woodard, Ph.D.

Carl “Dhati” Gregory, abiit ad maiores

Honorary Committee

Miguel Algarin Dr. Maya Angelou Ed Bullins Ben Caldwell Jayne Cortez William H. Cosby, Jr., D.Ed. Ruby Dee Mel Edwards Danny Glover Balozi Harvey Rev. Dr. M. William Howard, Jr. Clifford Janey, Ph.D. Felipe Luciano Haki R. Madhabuti, Ph.D. James Mtume Gil Noble Rep. Donald Payne Kevin Powell Sonia Sanchez Ntozake Shange David Shakes Hon. Cleopatra Tucker Cornel West, Ph.D. Marvin X

Recent Books/Re-releases by

Amiri Baraka

Home: Social Essays
(Akashic Books)

Digging: The Afro-American Soul of American Classical Music
(Univ. of California)

Tales of the Out & the Gone
(Akashic Books)

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