Friends of Columbia Libraries to Host an Evening with Author and Political Activist Amiri Baraka

NEW YORK, November 11, 2008 The Friends of the Columbia Libraries will host an evening of conversation with Amiri Baraka, well-known political activist, founder of the Black Arts Movement, and winner of the American Book Award, on Tuesday, November 18, 2008 from 6:00 pm to 8:30 pm at the Union Theological Seminary’s Social Hall, 3041 Broadway at 121st Street. The event is free of charge and open to the public.

Amiri Baraka

Mr. Baraka will be interviewed by Johnny Temple of Akashic Books in Brooklyn, NY. A reception will immediately follow the program. For further information regarding this event or to attend, please contact Columbia University Libraries by sending an email to

Amiri Baraka is the author of over 40 books of essays, poems, dramas, music history and criticism. One of the founders of Harlem's Black Arts Movement of the 1960s, he has since received numerous awards and honors including an Obie, an American Academy of Arts & Letters award, the James Weldon Johnson Medal, and grants from the NEA and the Rockefeller Foundation. A poet and revolutionary political activist, he has read and lectured extensively in the USA, the Caribbean, Africa and Europe. He currently lives in Newark with his wife, author Amina Baraka, where they jointly head up the word-music ensemble "Blue Ark: the word ship."

The Columbia University Libraries recently acquired the papers of the poet and playwright. Running to nearly 1,000 linear feet of correspondence, manuscripts, notebooks, research files, photographs, and audio and video tapes, the Baraka Papers form a huge and hugely important archive on the life and career of one of America’s most important and most controversial figures.

The Friends of the Columbia Libraries aim to cultivate an informed interest in and support for the Columbia Libraries. The Friends foster the growth and improvement of the Libraries through financial and in-kind gifts and provide opportunities for creating, collecting, and preserving library materials. The Friends also promote the visibility of the Libraries through sponsorship of educational and social events.

Columbia University Libraries/Information Services is one of the top five academic research library systems in North America. The collections include over 10 million volumes, over 100,000 journals and serials, as well as extensive electronic resources, manuscripts, rare books, microforms, maps, graphic and audio-visual materials. The services and collections are organized into 25 libraries and various academic technology centers. The Libraries employs more than 550 professional and support staff. The website of the Libraries at is the gateway to its services and resources.