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CubaloguesBeat Writers in Revolutionary Havana$
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Todd F. Tietchen

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780813035208

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813035208.001.0001

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Unsettling the Democratic Score

Unsettling the Democratic Score

Music and Urban Insurgency

(p.69) 3 Unsettling the Democratic Score

Todd F. Tietchen

University Press of Florida

This chapter traces the evolution of black nationalism and anticolonialism in Amiri Baraka's work, paying particular attention to the publication history of “Cuba Libre,” which first appeared in the Evergreen Review in 1960—when Baraka was still writing as LeRoi Jones—only to be considerably revised for the Home: Social Essays in 1965. This chapter explores the reasons why Baraka embraced a political program of armed insurrection during a period that witnessed, on one hand, widespread urban rioting and the historical reemergence of black nationalism, and on the other, the passage of the most historically significant Civil Rights legislation in the history of the United States. Baraka's experiences in Cuba ultimately convinced him that the “implied rebellion” he originally celebrated in the Beat aesthetic was not rebellious or revolutionary enough—especially, as it turns out, in relation to racial injustice.

Keywords:   urban insurgency, music, Amiri Baraka, armed insurrection, black nationalism, racial injustice

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