Interview with Amiri Baraka
QUESTION 13
JUDY RICHARDSON:

How and why does Africa begin to affect the, um, the culture and the politics of African-Americans?

AMIRI BARAKA:

Well, I guess because the--

JUDY RICHARDSON:

I'm sorry, if you could just mention the name.

AMIRI BARAKA:

About Africa, I think the whole African, ah, National Liberation struggle had intensified after the Second World War and, by the '50s, you know, you began to hear about people like Nkrumah. And, ah, then I think the, the most dramatic--I know for us the most dramatic thing--was, of course, Lumumba. What was that, 1961, something like that? When, you know, they killed Lumumba, at this time the United States was in charge of the U.N. and, ah, Lumumba was, of course, the first premier, independent nationalist premier of Belgian, had been the Belgian Congo, the Congo. Of course, Rockefeller and the Belgians, you know, the U.S. government colluded to kill him. Mobutu, a Negro that's in there now, is directly responsible. And so for a lot of young Black intellectuals that marked the kind of, ah, coming to consciousness, you know. I remember a lot of people went into the U.N. I remember I was picketing in front of the U.N. I met people who were writers that I had known were writers, I had met them, for instance Askia Toure, I had met them out there, you know, you know, a lot of people who were artists and, you know, scholars of one kind or another, just young Black people. Ah, the Lumumba thing, you know, sparked the kind of rise in consciousness you know and the resistance, I think, of--