N.J. funeral for activist poet-writer Amiri Baraka

     Newark mayoral hopeful Ras Baraka delivers a eulogy for his father, Amiri Baraka, during the poet's funeral Saturday. (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)

    Newark mayoral hopeful Ras Baraka delivers a eulogy for his father, Amiri Baraka, during the poet's funeral Saturday. (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)

    Bagpipers, African drummers and jazz musicians led a rousing procession as the casket bearing activist poet-playwright Amiri Baraka was carried into his funeral service at Newark Symphony Hall.

    The 79-year-old author of blues-based poems, plays and criticisms died last Thursday. Actor Danny Glover was expected to officiate at the funeral on Saturday.

    Baraka’s supporters considered him a genius and a prophet. He helped found the Black Arts Movement in 1965 and left a legacy of community activism in his native Newark and elsewhere.

    Critics have denounced him as homophobic and anti-Semitic. He was named New Jersey’s poet laureate in 2002, but the position was eliminated following criticism of Baraka’s Sept. 11 poem “Somebody Blew up America.”

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    The Rev. Jesse Jackson spoke at his wake Friday.

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