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Unknown Photographer

Teacher Tomas Valente pickets Robert Treat School while LeRoi Jones and others discuss how to keep schools open, Newark, February 3, 1970
Vintage wire photograph on paper
7 11/16 x 10 1/8 in. (19.53 x 25.72 cm)

Creation Place: North America
Technique: Photography
Credit Line: Gift of Eric Alterman
Accession Number: P2021.21.16

Sixth grade teacher Tomas Valente (right) pickets Robert Treat School, while a group headed by playwright LeRoi Jones (bearded at center left) discusses ways to keep schools open during a city-wide teachers' strike in Newark, New Jersey.

Amiri Baraka (born Everett LeRoi Jones; October 7, 1934 – January 9, 2014), previously known as LeRoi Jones and Imamu Amear Baraka, was an American writer of poetry, drama, fiction, essays and music criticism. He was the author of numerous books of poetry and taught at several universities, including the State University of New York at Buffalo and the State University of New York at Stony Brook. He received the PEN/Beyond Margins Award in 2008 for "Tales of the Out and the Gone". Baraka's career spanned nearly 50 years, and his themes range from black liberation to white racism. Some poems that are always associated with him are "The Music: Reflection on Jazz and Blues", "The Book of Monk", and "New Music, New Poetry", works that draw on topics from the worlds of society, music, and literature. Baraka's poetry and writing have attracted both high praise and condemnation. In the black community, some compare Baraka to James Baldwin and recognize him as one of the most respected and most widely published black writers of his generation. Others have said his work is an expression of violence, misogyny, and homophobia. Regardless of viewpoint, Baraka's plays, poetry, and essays have been defining texts for black culture. Baraka's brief tenure as Poet Laureate of New Jersey (2002–2003) involved controversy over a public reading of his poem "Somebody Blew Up America?", which resulted in accusations of anti-Semitism and negative attention from critics and politicians.

On recto: typewritten title and date. On verso: date stamp.

Donated to the Benton Museum of Art at Pomona College by Eric Alterman on December 16, 2021.

Sheet: 7 3/4 x 10 3/8

Wire photographs were originally transmitted over phonelines, then later, by satellite. They were first used in the early 1920s. Associated Press became a leader with this. After pigment touch-ups, etc., the print is put into a drum (like a drum scanner). The image gets converted into audio tones that are transmitted. The tones are received and beamed onto photo-sensitive paper. Wire photographs are copies without originals---they are hybrid, transmitted objects. (Britt Salvesen, Curator and Department Head, Photography Department, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, March 30-31, 2022)

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  • Image Dimensions: 7 11/16 x 10 1/8 in. (19.53 x 25.72 cm)

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