The New-Ark by Amiri Baraka

We discovered another rare film in the Harvard Film Archive’s collections this week.

THE NEW-ARK (1968) was written and directed by Leroi Jones AKA Amiri Baraka (1934-2014).  The HFA has a print, possibly unique, in the James Hinton Collection.  Hinton was cinematographer on the film.

THE NEW-ARK is a creative documentary about Black Education, urban public theater, and political consciousness-raising in Newark, NJ, set inside and outside of Spirit House.  Spirit House, also known as Heckalu Community Center, was a Black Nationalist community center in Newark, NJ, under the leadership of poet, playwright, and activist Amiri Baraka (known at the time as LeRoi Jones).  Includes shots of Baraka reading “Poem to Half-White College Students.” There are shots of Spirit House Community Black School including the teaching of the Black Alphabet.   The film contains footage of street theater performances, political rallies, rehearsals, martial arts practice, discussions, dance and musical performances.  (blurb based on a description by Chuck Jackson)

The 1968 Ektachrome print is in decent condition and the HFA plans to partner with Anthology Film Archives to digitize the print and make it available for screenings.