Born Everett LeRoi Jones, Amiri Baraka is one of America's most influential civil rights advocates, but his work as a publisher, poet and playwright is equally impressive. After a stint at Howard University, Baraka landed in New York City, where he founded Totem Press, which went on to publish work by Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac. His own writing includes several landmark volumes, such as his first book of poetry, Preface to a Twenty-Volume Suicide Note, and what is thought to be the definitive work on African-American music and culture, Blues People: Negro Music in White America. He's also responsible for the controversial play Dutchman, which won an Obie Award for Best Off-Broadway Play. All of that was in the 1960s, but Baraka has continued to work in both the civil rights and publishing arenas for the last 40 years. Last year, three of Baraka's titles hit the shelves Ñ the re-released Home: A Book of Social Essays and Tales of the Out & the Gone, along with the newly published Digging: The Afro-American Soul of American Classical Music. A signing session follows Baraka's talk today at 7 p.m. Rothko Chapel, 1409 Sul Ross. For information, call 713-524-9839 or visit www.rothkochapel.org. Free.
Thu., April 8, 7 p.m., 2010