One of the greatest (in my judgment) African American writers was born on July 29, l934, and killed in New York on May 23, l968. His name was Henry Dumas and his death at the age of thirty four cut short a brilliant career of a poet and short story writer who gave meaning to the Afrocentric term, located.
To see his entire work click here
Read Echo Tree: The collected short stories of Dumas click here
Sun Ra (born Herman Poole Blount, legal name Le Sony’r Ra; May 22 1914 in Birmingham, Alabama – May 30 1993 in Birmingham, Alabama) was a jazzcomposer, bandleader, piano and synthesizer player, poet and philosopher known for his “cosmic philosophy,” musical compositions and performances.
“Of all the jazz musicians, Sun Ra was probably the most controversial,” critic Scott Yanow said, due to Sun Ra’s eclectic music and unorthodox lifestyle. Claiming that he was of the “Angel Race” and not from Earth, but from Saturn, Sun Ra developed a complex persona of “cosmic” philosophies and lyrical poetry that made him a pioneer of afrofuturism as he preached awareness and peace above all. He abandoned his birth name and took on the name and persona of Sun Ra (Ra being the ancient Egyptian god of the sun), and used several other names throughout his career, including Le Sonra and Sonny Lee. Blount denied any connection with birth name, saying “That’s an imaginary person, never existed … Any name that I use other than Ra is a pseudonym.” click here for full article
For an excellent blog on Sun Ra click here
For a time line of his music and life click here
“In the culturally turbulent mid-1960s, the visionary, otherworldly musical being we have all come to know as Sun Ra formed a brief but tight bond with the late storyteller, activist and poet Henry Dumas. The Ark and the Ankh is a vintage 1966 document of dialogues and meditations between the poet and the musician set to the fervent musical experiments of the Arkestra recorded live at the legendary downtown New York club and haven for the insurgent black music scene, Slug’s Saloon. The Ark and the Ankh offers an essential insight into the quirkily brilliant, totally controversial and completely inimitable thought of Sun Ra candidly shared with one of his most adoring disciples. Sun Ra needs little introduction to the legion of fans his great body of work continues to accumulate. Henry Dumas has gained cult-like status as one of this centuries most important black writers. His work, which has been collected in such anthologies as Goodbye Sweetwater, has been labelled genius and brilliant by the likes of Amiri Baraka and Toni Morrison. On May 23, 1968, after leaving a rehearsal at Sun Ra’s practice space, Henry Dumas’s life was tragically cut short when he was shot to death in a Harlem Subway station by a New York City transit cop. This is the first of two intended volumes from the private tapes of Henry Dumas.”