Askia M. Touré

Askia Muhammad Touré (Roland Snellings) (born October 13, 1938, in Raleigh, North Carolina) is an African-American poet, essayist, political editor, and leading voice of the Black Arts Movement.


He served in the United States Air Force from 1956 to 1959. He took art classes at the Dayton Art Institute. He moved to New York City and joined the Art Students League, and the Umbra poets. He participated in the Fulton Art Fair in Brooklyn, in 1961 and 1962, and the Black Arts Movement. In 1961, he protested the assassination of Patrice Lumumba, at the United Nations, with Amiri Baraka, Calvin Hicks, Aishah Rahman, Max Roach, Abby Lincoln, Alex Prempe, Mae Mallory, and Maya Angelou.[1]

In 1962, he became an illustrator for Umbra magazine, a staff member with The Liberator magazine and a contributor to Freedomways. He was a part of the Atlanta staff of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), and joined the Revolutionary Action Movement (RAM) in the Spring of 1964.[2] In 1965, he founded Afro World, and organized the Harlem Uptown Youth Conference. He also participated in the rise of the Black Panther Party and helped write SNCC's 1966 "Black Power Position Paper."[3]

In 1967, he joined the faculty at San Francisco State University with Nathan Hare, and taught African history in the first African Studies Program. He organized the 1984 Nile Valley Conference, and helped found the Atlanta chapter of the Association for the Study of Classical African Civilizations.[4]

He resides and teaches in Boston, Massachusetts. He was a writer-in-residence in Boston at the now defunct Ogunaaike Gallery in Boston's South End.[5] He is currently working on a film about the Black Arts Movement.[6][7][8]

He is a former editor of the Journal of Black Poetry, Black Dialogue and Black Star.


  • 1989 American Book Award
  • 2000 Stephen E. Henderson Poetry Award for Dawnsong
  • 1996 Gwendolyn Brooks Lifetime Achievement Award from the Gwendolyn Brooks Institute in Chicago, Illinois.




External links

  • "Author's website"

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