The Story Behind This Famous Photo of Maya Angelou and Amiri Baraka
Amiri Baraka was already the people’s poet when he answered to the name LeRoi Jones. We had a very famous photograph taken in 1991 by Chester Higgins, Jr. The photograph appeared in the New York Times. At the time the legend under said in effect, two of America’s great poets dancing a traditional African rite dance over the remains of Langston Hughes at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. I telephoned Amiri Baraka and said were you doing traditional African dance, he said, “No, I was doing the jitterbug.” I said I was doing the Texas hop and it became a Jet magazine centerpiece. Rest in peace my brother. I give condolences to everybody, because when a poet dies something hopeful in the national psyche disappears.