Amiri Baraka出生于新泽西州纽瓦克，由邮政主管Colt Leverette Jones和社会工作者Anna Lois Jones出生。在成长过程中，巴拉卡演奏鼓，钢琴和小号，并享受诗歌和爵士乐。他特别钦佩音乐家迈尔斯戴维斯。 Baraka在1951年就读于Barringer高中并获得了罗格斯大学的奖学金。一年后，他转学到历史悠久的黑人霍华德大学，在那里他学习哲学和宗教等科目。在霍华德，他开始使用LeRoi James的名字，但后来又回到他的出生名称琼斯。在从霍华德毕业前被驱逐出去，琼斯报名参加了美国空军，在他发现共产主义作品三年之后，美国空军无情地解雇了他。虽然他成为空军的一名中士，但巴拉卡发现军队服役令人不安。他把这种经历称为“种族主义，侮辱性和智力瘫痪。”但他在空军的时间最终加深了他对诗歌的兴趣。他在驻扎在波多黎各的基地图书馆工作，这使他能够全身心投入阅读。他特别喜欢Beat诗人的作品，并开始写自己的诗歌。在他从空军出院后，他住在曼哈顿，在哥伦比亚大学和新社会研究学院上课。他还参与了格林威治村的艺术界，并了解了艾伦·金斯伯格，弗兰克·奥哈拉，吉尔伯特·索伦蒂诺和查尔斯·奥尔森等诗人。随着他对诗歌的兴趣不断深化，Baraka遇到了一位白人犹太女人Hettie Cohen，她分享了他对写作的热情。这对异族夫妇于1958年结婚，反对科恩父母的意愿，他们在工会的消息中哭了起来。这对夫妇一起创办了图腾出版社，其中包括艾伦金斯伯格等诗人的着作;他们还推出了Yugen文学杂志。巴拉卡也为文学期刊库尔丘尔编辑并撰写了批评。 Baraka与Cohen结婚，与他有两个女儿，Baraka与另一位女作家Diane di Prima建立了浪漫关系。 1961年，他们编辑了一本名为“飘熊”的杂志，并与其他人一起创办了纽约诗人剧院。那一年，巴拉卡的第一本诗集“二十卷自杀笔记”的序言首次亮相。在此期间，作家变得越来越政治化。 1960年的古巴之行让他相信他应该利用他的艺术来对抗压迫，因此巴拉卡开始接受黑人民族主义并支持古巴总统菲德尔卡斯特罗的政权。此外，当他和Diane di Prima于1962年生下一个女儿Dominique时，他复杂的个人生活发生了变化。第二年，Baraka出版了“白人美国黑人音乐：黑人音乐”一书。 1965年，巴拉卡和科恩离婚。
Born in Newark, New Jersey, Amiri Baraka was born by Postmaster Colt Leverette Jones and social worker Anna Lois Jones. As he grew up, Baraka played drums, piano and trumpet, and enjoyed poetry and jazz. He particularly admired the musician Miles Davis. Baraka studied at Barringer High School in 1951 and received a scholarship from Rutgers University. A year later, he transferred to the historic Black Howard University, where he studied subjects such as philosophy and religion. At Howard, he started using the name of LeRoi James, but later returned to his birth name Jones. After being expelled from Howard, Jones enrolled in the US Air Force. After three years of discovering communist works, the US Air Force fired him mercilessly. Although he became a sergeant in the Air Force, Baraka found the military service uncomfortable. He called this experience “racism, insult and intelligence.” But his time in the Air Force eventually deepened his interest in poetry. He works in a base library stationed in Puerto Rico, which allows him to devote himself to reading. He particularly liked the work of the Beat poet and began to write his own poetry. After he was discharged from the Air Force, he lived in Manhattan and attended classes at Columbia University and the New Social Studies Institute. He also participated in the art world of Greenwich Village and learned about poets such as Alan Ginsberg, Frank O’Hara, Gilbert Solentino and Charles Olsen. As his interest in poetry continued to deepen, Baraka met a white Jewish woman, Hettie Cohen, who shared his passion for writing. The interracial couple married in 1958, opposed to the wishes of Cohen’s parents, who cried in the news of the union. The couple founded the Totem Press, which included the poetry of Alan Ginsberg and other poets; they also launched the Yugen literary magazine. Baraka also edited and wrote a criticism for the literary journal Kulchu. Baraka married Cohen and had two daughters with him. Baraka had a romantic relationship with another female writer, Diane di Prima. In 1961, they edited a magazine called “Ghost Bear” and co-founded the New York Poet Theatre with others. That year, the preface to Baraka’s first collection of poems, “Twenty Volumes of Suicide Notes,” debuted. In the meantime, writers have become more and more politicized. The trip to Cuba in 1960 made him believe that he should use his art to counter oppression, so Baraka began to accept black nationalism and supported the regime of Cuban President Fidel Castro. In addition, when he and Diane di Prima gave birth to a daughter, Dominique, in 1962, his complex personal life changed. The following year, Baraka published the book “White African Black Music: Black Music.” In 1965, Baraka and Cohen divorced.