He did breakthrough work on hacking voting machines. The mayor told the story of how his father, writer, poet and activist Amiri Baraka, was beaten by the police in 1967 during the uprising in Newark. But then Washington Mayor Marion Barry arrived and called off the attack, aborting what could have been a deadly confrontation. Amiri Baraka’s health was failing, but he was firmly on board. Soon, he would receive his third headline in The Ledger — “Baraka and sons arrested.”, On Aug. 16, 1989, Ras learned that his kid brother, Ahi, 15, had been arrested with a group of other juveniles by Newark police for “blocking sidewalks and harassing pedestrians.”, His father was out of the city at the time, so Ras and his mother rushed to the South Ward precinct, where Ahi was handcuffed to a radiator. Ras Baraka is the son of renowned poets Amina and Amiri Baraka and the loving father of three daughters. Amiri Baraka, Newark Poet and Activist, Dead at 79 - Newark, NJ - Former state poet laureate is father of mayoral candidate Ras Baraka. Ras Baraka is the Mayor of Newark New Jersey. Ras Baraka eulogized his father in a grenade of a speech that both celebrated the poet’s legacy and concussively assailed his critics. I remember my mother went around and tried to help him.” The young boy was terrified: “I got out of the car and ran.”, The entire family was taken to the police station. Their grievance was the recent appointment of Lee Atwater to the board of trustees of the prominent black university. “There’s violence that happens in our community, and there’s violence that happens to our community,” Baraka says. He was a Newarker to his core … Because he chose to fight here, so do I.”. Story Oct 01, 2019. He organized a series of protests, marches on City Hall. Jan. 18, 2014: Ras Baraka delivered a eulogy at the funeral for his late father, poet-activist Amiri Baraka. His son, Newark Mayor Ras Baraka, who confirmed his father's death to the public last year, joined HuffPost Live last week and reflected on his powerful legacy. He is the 40th and current Mayor of Newark, New Jersey. Now, four decades later, Baraka — as the mayor of Newark — must own the police department that he and his father had censured for decades. Mayor Ras Baraka continued urgently ringing the alarm bell this morning in COVID-19 ravaged Newark, which stands back where it was in April and May when the virus gripped the city, suffering a 19% test positivity rate, and 35% in one area. But after he started Black Nia FO.R.C.E, he was all in. “He never sold out. If that isn't a defense of the advertising industry, we don't know what is. Foundation father Baraka Stewart, whose son Braylan is an 8th grader at Eagle Harlem, recently fielded some questions from Charlie Hanger, digital content manager for The Foundation. As a 19-year-old junior at Howard, Baraka led a protest of hundreds of students, which culminated in the takeover of the school’s administration building. He was forced to take the stand and face questioning from an aggressive prosecutor, who tripped the boy up on his recall of minor details. Poet, playwright and professor Amiri Baraka was an important figure in the Black Arts Movement, known for his firey and outspoken demeanor before his death in 2014. Four months later, Baraka won the election convincingly. They dropped officers on the roof, who cut open a hole for entry, and rappelled inside, Baraka recalls. He preached the same sermon he preaches today — education, employment and equity. Ras Baraka, one of the sons of the late poet and playwright Amiri Baraka, handily beat rival Shavar Jeffries to become the next mayor of his father’s city, Newark, N.J. When she tried to escape, there was a struggle. It chronicled another seminal moment — his leap into high-stakes activism. By his own admission, he was equally dedicated to partying as he was to activism in his freshman year. He wanted to be just like Miles Davis. Larry Hamm is founder of the People’s Organization for Progress (POP) which held a rally yesterday to protest the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police. The Newark firm owned by Linda O. Jumah, who pleaded guilty to federal tax evasion charges, received at least $65,000 in consulting fees from Mayor Ras Baraka's campaign committee. All rights reserved. “Those who know him say his activism has come alive only in the past year or so,” according to an account in the Washington Post. MY EARLIEST ENCOUNTER with the police happened at the age of ten. That day, Baraka says, “colored my view until I became an adult and had to deal with these issues seriously,”. A conference, Malcolm X: Radical Tradition and a Legacy of Struggle was held in New York City, November 14 1990. The first time Ras Baraka was mentioned in The Newark Star-Ledger was on Dec. 2, 1988, a small blurb on page 42, announcing he would be reading his own poetry at Kimako’s Blues People, a community art space founded by his parents to showcase Newark artists. ← Previous Post. ... “A Mayor That’s Radical”: Newark Mayor Ras Baraka Reflects on His Poet Father & 1st Year in Office. He tried and lost again in 2002, but this time he turned heads after gaining 13,000 votes. Al Sharpton; his father was his campaign manager and he was referred to in the press as “the hip-hop candidate.” He lost to incumbent Sharpe James; but in Newark, his voice was getting louder and stronger. Newark’s current population is about 50% Black, just as it was during the riots of 1967, when the mayor’s famous father, Amiri Baraka, was severely beaten and jailed. The next year, Ahi would lead student protests of his own, demanding increased funding for public schools. And he revived his father’s calls for a civilian review board to hold bad cops accountable. Baraka started writing poetry when he was in high school. The father of three daughters, Mayor Baraka is a published author and well-regarded in the entertainment industry for his appearance on the Grammy-award winning album, “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill” in his authentic role as an educator. “Don’t lose your poetry license,” he often told his son. On a side entrance, they used a battering ram while football players on the inside leaned against the door. On June 6, 1979, that would change in one scary New York minute. The mayor remembered his father's brave work, which championed the black experience and was notoriously divisive amongst critics. He was a Newarker to his core … Because he chose to fight here, so do I.” The situation grew tense: With scores of Washington, D.C. police riot and SWAT teams stationed outside the building, Baraka proclaimed to a large crowd they were prepared to “close the whole school down for the entire year … as long as it takes until Atwater is off the board,” according to the Ledger story. Kean weighs in on a federal COVID-19 Commission, New law on police body cameras could come with a hefty price tag. Jan. 18, 2014: Ras Baraka delivered a eulogy at the funeral for his late father, poet-activist Amiri Baraka. That summer Public Enemy released its game-changing megahit, “Fight the Power.”, “Kids from Howard at that time came from cities that felt the economic depression of the 1980s. And he would come to discover who his father was before that — a world-renowned beat poet and playwright, whose given name was LeRoi Jones. He also explained the power of art -- everything from prose to poetry -- in effecting social change. He learned how his father had been arrested, severely beaten and jailed. WHEN Ras Baraka was elected Newark’s mayor in 2014, the business world was worried. Baraka’s second appearance in The Ledger on March 8, 1989 received much better play. As a young boy, Ras did not see these people as celebrities; they were houseguests. And “I’ve been on Go ever since,” he says. Their loud voices caught the attention of police, who approached the car. Sign up for membership to become a founding member and help shape HuffPost's next chapter, Famous Playwrights And Their TV Soulmates. Sign up here for Live Today, HuffPost Live's new morning email that will let you know the newsmakers, celebrities and politicians joining us that day and give you the best clips from the day before! Baraka was born in Newark, New Jersey, where he attended Barringer High School. Part of HuffPost Black Voices. “It’s been that way for a long time.”. He was endorsed by the Rev. Then I became mayor This was a house where Nina Simone sang him lullabies, Max Roach played on the family piano and Maya Angelou recited her poems to him. “Who’s going to keep it lit?”, During his emotional eulogy, Ras Baraka responded: “He supported me, not just because I am his son, but because we are right … My father loved this city of ours. Jelani Cobb, who is now a journalism professor at Columbia University, participated in the sit-in and remembers the elder Baraka articulating a bigger picture: “He encouraged our efforts, reminded us that students have always been key to movements for social reform, and connected our protest to broader historical currents and to older struggles for justice,” Cobb wrote in The New Yorker. “Justice for everybody else and justice for the police.”. Atwater, chairman of the Republican National Committee was also George H.W. Major funding for NJTV News provided by Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey, New Jersey Education Association, New Jersey Manufacturers Insurance Group, Orsted, PSEG Foundation, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and RWJ Barnabas Health. Credit: The Hilltop, Howard University's student newspaper, courtesy of NYU Press, Lawmakers agree on marijuana legalization bill but differ on tax-revenue constitutional amendment, NJ certifies results for record 4.64M voters — with no fuss, no muss, LIVE UPDATES: Tracking the coronavirus in New Jersey. The torch was being passed to a new generation. Scores of police officers showed up, wearing T-shirts reading “The Blue Crew.” The scene was tense and it was hostile. In 2019, Baraka married political consultant Linda Jumah, who was sentenced to home confinement and probation for tax evasion in 2018. Foreshadowing his path toward politics, Baraka was elected as vice president of the Howard University Student Association. Could this cannabis deal be the one that sticks? As a councilman, he remained an outspoken critic of police misconduct. Kirby Foundation, the Hyde and Watson Foundation, and the Union Foundation. ... His father, the late Amiri Baraka, was a legendary poet and playwright. ©2020 Verizon Media. Major funding for Reporters Roundtable with David Cruz provided by; RWJBarnabas Health, New Jersey Manufacturers Insurance Group, and New Jersey Realtors. My parents had pulled over to have an argument. A native of Newark, whose family has lived in the City for more than 80 years, Mayor Baraka’s progressive approach to governing has won him accolades from grassroots organizations to the White House. Our parents will know.”. But the father knew it was a perilous path his son was taking, and all the pitfalls therein. Baraka is now He had appreciation and respect for both the previous generation and this new shock of hip-hop consciousness.”, A few months after the Howard protest, Baraka was back home in Newark on summer break. “I pushed him and said, ‘Get out of my mother’s face.’”, Baraka said he was promptly taken to a back room where they “swept me off my feet while I was handcuffed, so there was no way to protect my fall … and they started punching and kicking me.”. Ras Baraka is a contender to become the next mayor of Newark, the city his father loved and championed. Additional support for NJTV News is made possible by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, PSEG Foundation, Wells Fargo Foundation, the E.J. How he came to this place makes complete sense. “From that point on, I was a Marion Barry supporter. Baraka recalls his parents, Amiri and Amina Baraka “arguing about shoes.” It was the type of quarrel families have, he said — “who liked them, who didn’t like them, how much they cost — stuff I would probably argue with my wife about now.”, His father pulled over and parked the car on a Greenwich Village street. It was then Baraka got serious. The father of three … The mayor, whose father Amiri Baraka was once the state poet laureate, just released the video that was filmed last November. “I looked at them as an occupying force.” It would become the central theme of his activism throughout the ’90s. “For years, there’s been two types of justice,” Baraka says today. Today is National Voter Registration Day! On June 7, 1997, a friendly backyard card game with his neighbors was interrupted when some friends burst in with news: “They just killed Strawberry.”. Who denounced that world and became Amiri Baraka, a rhythmic and militant voice of the black nationalism movement in the ’60s and ’70s. “My mother got boisterous and loud … ‘Where’s my son?’” Baraka recalls. When Mayor Sharpe James came out to address the crowd, the police officers turned their backs on the mayor in unison. Baraka the activist immediately engaged. "My father was an incredible man. Young Ras was packed into the back seat of the family car with his four siblings that day for a shopping trip in Manhattan. And who, throughout it all, was a relentless voice for social and political reform in his hometown Newark. Part One of a two-part series examines how police reform became a dominating — and inevitable — issue for Baraka. His son, Ras Baraka, is the current mayor of Newark. Baraka's son Jua Nyamekye Imamu Kofi Baraka was born in 2019 . Baraka was sworn in as the city's 40th mayor at ceremonies at the New Jersey Performing Arts … Ras Baraka (born April 9, 1970) is the Mayor of Newark, New Jersey. More than 3,000 people jammed Symphony Hall for his funeral. In 1994, Baraka, then 24, ran for mayor. He was demanding the officer be fired, that there be an investigation, that the city finally create a civilian review board — “the usual stuff,” he recalls. Ras Jua Baraka (born April 9, 1970) is an American politician. He was concerned about the apathy of his generation, that the Black movement his father and others had led in the ’60s and ’70s was foundering. “The Baraka family is revolutionary royalty and Black nobility and they will never forget where they came from.”, Then, poet Jessica Care Moore posed this poignant question about the city’s most famous poet: “He created this fire,” she said. He acts on what he feels is best for his home, a place he isn't ashamed of or want to escape. His father was charged with assault and resisting arrest. Strawberry was Dannette Daniels, a 31-year-old woman in the neighborhood, well-known and well-liked. Policing in America Ras Baraka on reforms to bring communities and police closer together. Tap here to turn on desktop notifications to get the news sent straight to you. Atwater resigned from the Howard board. In 2005, he was appointed to fill a vacancy on the city council. When Baraka and friends arrived at the scene, a sizeable crowd had gathered and it felt like a near-riot situation. He was unbossed,” Dr. Cornel West said at the service. (General Education in Training Blacks to United and Save our Youth), a group that traveled on Sister Souljah’s college tour circuit, an entourage of rappers and political activists who lectured at jails and schools around the country. He was now fully engaged in his father’s fight, and he was finding his own voice. It was another rite of passage for the young activist: his first arrest and first beating by police. Even back before the Mayor was born. Malcolm X conference. I think it was talked about in many households in Newark, period, and particularly in my household. In addition, the song continues the work of his famous activist father, Amiri Baraka. That year, he also made his maiden pilgrimage to the National Political Hip-Hop Convention and has attended every year since. A child who witnessed the uprising from his front porch, Hamm became more involved in combating police brutality in the early 1970’s after he became associated with the future mayor’s father, the late poet-activist Amira Baraka, who wanted a civilian company review board to oversee the police. His son, Newark Mayor Ras Baraka, who confirmed his father's death to the public last year, joined HuffPost Live last week and reflected on his powerful legacy. Daily News Digest. Ras J. Baraka is the 40th Mayor of the City of Newark. "Some of the problems that we have can begin being addressed by art," Ras said. From his earliest days of street protest, Newark’s mayor has echoed many of the same themes as his poet-activist father Amiri Baraka, none more so than the necessity for police reform. Major funding provided for Chat Box with David Cruz provided by; New Jersey Manufacturers Insurance Group, New Jersey Education Association, and Fuel Merchants Association of New Jersey. It would mark the end of his innocence and the beginning of his own political awakening. … that I got up there and ruined it.”, Ras Baraka, now 50 and mayor of Newark, has spent a lifetime processing that event, along with his own run-ins with Newark cops. He started a dorm-room meeting group, which in 1987 would provide security for Public Enemy when they visited the campus. “I grew up in a household that was different than what was going on … The poetry they was teaching us in school never sounded like the poetry I heard from my Dad.”. He was outstanding, and the kind of impact that he's had on Newark is going to be felt for centuries," Ras told host Marc Lamont Hill. Throughout the ’90s, he organized dozens of protests, mostly concerning police brutality. “Yeah,” he said in his inaugural address, “we need a mayor that’s radical.”, (Special thanks to the Newark Public Library for its research assistance.). It was then he also began to synthesize his father’s militancy and start to define his own brand of activism. It ended with a cop shooting her at point-blank range in the neck. Certainly not like this one, entitled Monday in B-Flat: It wasn’t until he attended Howard University that he started reciting his verse at poetry reading events. “Ras knew that this generation would need a different type of organizing than his father’s. Baraka is the father of three daughters Amandla, Assata, Raisa . In my remarks, we (I and co-producer Kim McMillan) invited Ras and his mother, Amina Baraka, to the upcoming University of California, Merced Black Arts Movement Conference, February 28 to March 1-2. The next year, he ran for a city council seat and lost. In 2019, Jumah was accused of assaulting Baraka's teenage daughter in a domestic dispute at the mayor's home . A relentless current of poetry, jazz and spirited discourse swirled throughout Ras Baraka’s childhood home in Newark in the 1970s. The next month, the university’s president resigned. On Jan. 9, 2014, Amiri Baraka died. The group’s philosophy was shaped, they said, by Martin Luther King Jr, Malcolm X and Louis Farrakhan — a wide variety, indeed. I appreciate the name. His father was poet Amiri Baraka. Ras Baraka. Amiri Baraka, who had dropped out of Howard in the ’50s, came down from Newark to offer his support. Jul 6th 2020. by Ras Baraka. In 2013, Baraka decided to run for the office Mayor Cory Booker was leaving prematurely after winning a special election for a U.S. Senate seat. During his emotional eulogy, Ras Baraka responded: “He supported me, not just because I am his son, but because we are right … My father loved this city of ours. Ras Baraka didn’t realize it then, but that frightening day in Greenwich Village in the summer of 1979 was his unintended introduction to the Baraka family business — a business that traded in poetry, music and shoe leather as its currency; an enterprise of protest that strategically zeroed in on police brutality, the front line in the war on racial injustice in America. Mayor Ras Baraka says his father, the famed poet and activist Amiri Baraka, was involved in the riots. The ensuing trial would be even “more traumatizing than watching my father get beat by the police,” he says. He was unbought. Before anyone knew it, my father was being dragged from the … There was one in particular that stood out. He was a poet, writer, educator, and public intellectual, a brilliant man. Jazz was something Baraka became interested in as a kid. By July, though, … Mayor James noticed and promptly made him deputy mayor. “It was the first and one of the most scary protests I’ve ever been involved in.”. After all, Baraka Senior had become a political organizer after the ’67 Rebellion, and orchestrated the election of the first Black mayor of Newark, Ken Gibson. Ras Baraka on reforms to bring communities and police closer together. Young Baraka was crestfallen. The glamour, the banter, the covert homosexuality -- there's a lot in common between AMC's prettiest show and the works of Oscar Wilde, a playwright who liked pretty things.