Poet and playwright Amiri Baraka spoke to Terry Gross in 1986. He was a key black literary voice of the 1960s. He passed away Thursday at the age of 79. In remembrance of him we revisit his interview. Here he talks about Malcolm X’s influence:
As young intellectuals, we took that very seriously. … Malcolm was not just a public figure being killed, it was somebody who we were sworn to be involved with and who had actually shaped our thinking.
I met Malcolm the month before he was killed. … He deeply changed my mind about America. [He] made me see America in a way I had never; made me see myself in a way I had never. And then for them to kill him — for a lot of us it represented a declaration of war.
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