Leroi jones/amiri baraka, black arts movement, black arts repertory theatre/school, cultural nationalism, identity politics, race, sexuality
This study examines auto/biographical, theoretical, critical, literary, and dramatic works by and about LeRoi Jones/Amiri Baraka, primarily focusing on the eruption of “Hate Whitey” sentiment and rhetoric that characterized a decadelong cultural nationalist phase of the henceforth selfdeclaredly Black poet-playwright’s career. As a black militant, LeRoi Jones left his white wife and other white associates in Greenwich Village, moved to Harlem, changed his name to Amiri Baraka, converted to Islam, and started the Black Arts Repertory Theatre/School. This thesis contends that Baraka’s Black Arts Movement era plays emphasize negation of the value of white women and gay men, who had formed his most intimate prior cohorts, and use extreme imagery to malign, belittle, and abjure representatives of both groups as evil, ridiculous, and disgusting archetypes in an attempt to affirm the political stance of the author and preempt doubt about his level of commitment to his chosen cause during that period. Through these plays written from the mid-1960s to mid-1970s, Baraka denies his own personal history and appears to protest too much the virtues of corrective Afrocentric relationships which his works fail to affirm as much as he condemns their alternatives. However, after the purgative effect of these revolutionary works, Baraka’s evolution arrived at a place where he could once again acknowledge and promote a diverse equality that included respect for the partners and peers he had abnegated. Conclusions of this research suggest connections between the personal implications of Baraka’s individual journey and prominent themes stressed in the broader field of identity politics.
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Master of Arts (M.A.)
College of Arts and Humanities
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Open Access)
Arts and Humanities -- Dissertations, Academic, Dissertations, Academic -- Arts and Humanities
Stone-Lawrence, Susan, "This Stuff Is Finished: Amiri Baraka's Renunciation Of The Ghosts Of White Women And Homosexuals Past" (2013). Electronic Theses and Dissertations, 2004-2019. 3001.