Baraka was one of the key black literary voices of the 1960s. The political and social views that inspired his writing changed over the years, from his bohemian days as a young man in Greenwich Village to his later years as a Marxist. He spoke to Fresh Air's Terry Gross in 1986.
The guitarist, composer and arranger died in his sleep Tuesday at 83. Hall was known for a subtle, lyrical playing style, a gift for innovation and collaborations with a host of talented musicians in a career that stretched for more than seven decades. Hear an interview from 1989.
Bandleader and producer Johnny Otis, who launched and then nurtured the careers of many of R&B's greatest singers, died Tuesday at his home near Los Angeles. He was 90. Fresh Air remembers Otis with excerpts from a 1989 interview.
Leiber, the lyricist behind "Jailhouse Rock," "Yakety Yak" and "Stand By Me," died Monday. He was 78. Fresh Air remembers the songwriter with excerpts from a 1991 interview with Leiber and his songwriting partner Mike Stoller.
John Hope Franklin died March 25 at the age of 94. As a historian, scholar, and activist Franklin advanced African-American causes throughout his career. Fresh Air remembers the historian and scholar with an interview from 1990.
Author and museum director James Cameron died last Sunday at the age of 92. In 1930, an organized mob of more than 10,000 white men and women dragged Cameron and two other black teenage men from a jail cell in Marion, Ind. The mob mercilessly beat the three young men and lynched two — Cameron was spared. He recounted this experience in his 1984 memoir A Time of Terror and later founded the Black Holocaust Museum in Milwaukee, which he modeled after the Jewish Holocaust museum in Israel. This interview originally aired on March 8, 1994.
Criminal defense attorney Johnnie Cochran died Tuesday at age 67 of cancer, after having been diagnosed in 2003 with an inoperable brain tumor. In 1995, Cochran won O.J. Simpson a not-guilty verdict in the slayings of his wife Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman. Over the years, Cochran defended celebrities as well as lesser-known individuals. He represented football great Jim Brown, as well as rappers Tupac Shakur, Snoop Dogg and Sean Combs. (Originial airdate: 10/10/96)