Indianapolis: The Bobbs-Merrill Company, Inc., 1970. 1st Edition. Oblong quarto, publisher's black cloth, spine stamped in silver, black endpapers, original photo-illustrated dust jacket.
"I love you black people because I love my Self. / And you are the self, thrown big against the heavens." First edition of poet, playwright, teacher, and activist Imamu Amiri Baraka’s groundbreaking photo-essay on Black aesthetics. Born Everett LeRoi Jones, Baraka began publishing under his Swahili name as a demonstration of his dedication to Afro-Americanism during the second black Renaissance of the 1960s. This avant-garde amalgam of art, poetry, and politics came at the encouragement of publisher Bobbs-Merrill’s sole Black editor at the time, author Walter Dean Myers, who championed the collaboration between Baraka and Chicago photographer Fundi (Billy Abertnathy). The historically and culturally rich document was predominantly inspired by Baraka’s community organizing work in his hometown of Newark, NJ, and celebrated a renewed collective commitment within the Black Arts Movement (BAM). Inventively illustrated throughout with Fundi’s black-and-white photos. Book designed by Fundi’s wife, artist and activist Sylvia "Laini" Abernathy. Laini was an influential creator and an active member of BAM, designing numerous covers for Chicago-based label Delmark Records, including one of Afrofuturist legend Sun Ra’s earlier albums, Sun Son (1966). Stated first printing to copyright page. Lacking reflective foil mounted leaf. Lightest rubbing to spine-ends and corners; unclipped dust jacket moderately worn, with chips to spine-ends and flap folds, surface rubbing, edgewear, and approx. 1" abrasion to spine panel. Withall, a very good copy of a scarce and important book. Item #3116