Poet, Activist Amiri Baraka Dies At 79

News & Views | Camille Travis | 01/09/2014 | 03:45 PM EST

The famed writer and activist spoke to the Black experience

Poet, novelist and activist Amiri Baraka has died, confirms a family member. He was 79.

The writer, born Leroi Jones, had been admitted into intensive care at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City last month for reasons unknown, but a family spokesman assured the public that Baraka's condition was improving.

While he struggled with diabetes for quite some time, there has been no word on the cause of death.

With a career that spanned more than 50 years, Baraka was best known for his published works of poems, essays, plays, short stories and commentaries that detailed the Black experience. He got his start during the Civil Rights Movement by using his pen to document the anger of African-Americans and the injustice displayed around the country.

Baraka is noted for works such as "Blues People: Negro Music in White America," "The Music: Reflections on Jazz and Blues," "The Book of Monk," "Somebody Blew Up America" and more. He also served as New Jersey's poet laureate from 2002-2003.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Baraka's family during this time.

 (Photo: Mick Gold/Redferns)

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