Managing Editor’s Notes
When our Executive Editorial Board learned of Amiri Baraka’s death about a year ago, it did not take us long to decide that our next issue of Continuum would be dedicated to him. His body of work will go on to intrigue, excite and challenge us.
I first met Baraka in the early 1980’s when I was a member of a small audience invited to hear him being interviewed for the Hatch Billups Archives at their loft in lower Manhattan. I was a graduate student who only knew of him through his writings and what was said about them. I did not know what to expect. Perhaps he would come charging in, nostrils flaring, electrified hair standing on end, armed with rhetorical bazooka blasts. No. He entered the room as a normal man confident in his ideas and ready to share. He could jest and laugh. He engaged and taught us.
Since then, I was able to see him speak several times, and to witness how greatly influential he was on his own generation and the generation of African American artists who followed him. Whether agreed with or disagreed with, whether viewed as an honored elder or a lightening rod, his influence could not be denied.
As far as we know, we are the first to posthumously acknowledge his influence through scholarly reflection, and we are excited to do so. On behalf of the Continuum Board members I would like to thank Harry Elam, widely recognized as a Baraka scholar, for serving as lead editor of this issue, for putting it together. We perpetually thank Hely Perez for weaving us into the web. We thank all who contributed, and we thank you for reading our journal. Please note our first inclusion of the winning papers from BTN’s Young Scholars competition, which we plan to continue as a yearly feature, that we are beginning to receive production reviews, and that book reviews are on the way. For these we thank our new book review editor, Dr. Sandra Adell and our new production review editor, Ms. Rebekkah Pierce.
We need several things from you: we need your feedback: tell us what you would like to see that would be within our parameters to provide. Send us article submissions and reviews. Send us production photographs. Spread the word about us and help us expand our readership. We look forward to hearing and disseminating what you have to say!
Freda Scott Giles