August Wilson’s 4 B’s part 2- Baraka and Black Nationalism

Dear All,

Of all of the 4 B’s, Baraka had the least impact on August Wilson.   Here is how Wilson himself positioned Baraka’s influence on him.

“Baraka’s influence has less to do with the way he writes and more with the ideas he espoused in the 1960s as a black nationalist—ideas I found value in and still find value in .”

“If I look at the honorable Elijah Muhammad’s program, then there is this idea of self-sufficiency.  The idea of doing for one’s self is the idea that drew me sympathetically towards him [….]  I think Elijah Muhammed is one of the most important black men who ever lived in America.  I’d put him right up there with Du Bois, because he was one who had an idea.  For instance, if you look at the criteria of culture using Maulanga Ron Karanga’s criteria of mythology, history, and religion, the one thing we did not have was a mythology.  We had no origin myths.  Elijah Muhammad supplied that.  So you could say he contributed a lot to black American culture—the myth of Yacub, etc.  These are things the culture was lacking, and now they are forever a part of us.”


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