Funeral services held for poet, civil rights activist Amiri Baraka

The Newark native and controversial figure published dozens of poems, essays and works of non-fiction. He was also the father of Newark City Councilman Ras Baraka. (1/18/14)

NEWARK - Funeral services were held Saturday morning for New Jersey poet laureate and civil rights activist Amiri Baraka.

More than 1,000 people waited outside Metropolitan Baptist Church to pay their respects at Baraka's wake Friday night, including the Rev. Jesse Jackson, Spike Lee and Oprah Winfrey.

His memorial service was held at Newark Symphony Hall on Broad Street. Actor Danny Glover, activist Cornell West of Princeton University and other notable leaders were in attendance.

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Baraka was recognized as a leading voice of the black experience in the 1960's during the struggle for civil rights. He authored, "Somebody Blew Up America," “Funklore," and "The Autobiography of Leroi Jones."

Some his writings were often critiqued as promoting violence.

The Newark native was also the father of Newark City Councilman Ras Baraka.

Baraka passed away last week at age 79.

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