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Remembering Activist Poet Amiri Baraka

Baraka was one of the key black literary voices of the 1960s. The political and social views that inspired his writing changed over the years, from his bohemian days as a young man in Greenwich Village to his later years as a Marxist. He spoke to Fresh Air's Terry Gross in 1986.

Taking The Black Church Back To Its Roots

Black churches have long been a rallying place for people who want to change the world, like Martin Luther King Jr. But now the man who inherited King's pulpit says the spiritual fire has faded. Reverend Raphael Warnock speaks with host Michel Martin about his new book titled The Divided Mind of the Black Church.

Digging Into 'Duty: Memoirs Of A Secretary At War'

Critics say former Defense Secretary Robert Gates' new book takes shots at President Obama and other members of his cabinet. The Washington Post's Greg Jaffe tells host Michel Martin more about the book and its fallout.
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Sue Monk Kidd: "The Invention Of Wings"

Novelist Sue Monk Kidd weaves the true story of Sarah and Angelina Grimke into her latest work of fiction. We talk with Kidd about the novel, her inspiration and her work.


Spalding Gray's Family Remembers A Man Who Was 'Never Boring'

On the 10th anniversary of Spalding Gray's disappearance, his widow and stepdaughter remember the writer and monologist — and the difference he made in their lives.

A Story Of Pluck And Courage In An Unforgiving Future

Novelist Chang Rae Lee is known for his sober depictions of things you can probably imagine — like war and spies, family and immigration. So it might surprise you that his newest novel, On Such a Full Sea, is a dystopia that begins in a place called B-mor, a town that — a very long time ago — was known as Baltimore.

Amiri Baraka's Legacy Both Controversial And Achingly Beautiful

The former New Jersey poet laureate, born LeRoi Jones, died Thursday at age 79. Much of his work — including well-regarded poetry and plays — reflected his commitment to Black Nationalist ideals. He co-founded the Black Arts movement, and wrote poems that were as controversial as they were influential.

Writer And Activist Amiri Baraka Dies At Age 79

Born LeRoi Jones, the influential poet and award-winning playwright didn't shy away from social criticism and controversy.

Gates Unleashed: Ex-Defense Chief Goes Scorched Earth On Congress

Former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates doesn't spare Congress in his new memoir, comparing Capitol Hill hearings to "kangaroo courts," and even suggesting some members need mental health assistance.


A Former Child Soldier Imagines 'Tomorrow' In Sierra Leone

Ishmael Beah was 12 when he was orphaned by Sierra Leone's civil war and recruited as a child soldier. He described the ordeal in his 2007 memoir, A Long Way Gone. Now, Beah's debut novel, Radiance of Tomorrow, tells the story of a shattered community struggling to rebuild itself after war.