The hall of Newark’s Bethany Baptist Church buzzed with excitement on Saturday, October 3, 2009, as we awaited the start of a Jazz Vespers program honoring legendary poet, playwright and activist, Amiri Baraka.
Like the tiled mosaic of a storm-tossed boat decorating the front of the altar, this controversial artist is thought by many to be a troubled man instead of a celebrated trailblazer. However the members of his lifelong church endeavored to alter this negative image. Truth be told, they succeeded. (more…)