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Jalaluddin Mansur Nuriddin of the Last Poets

Jalaluddin Mansur Nuriddin (above), founding member of the Last Poets, a spoken-word poetry group that grew out of the Harlem Writers Workshop in the 1960s, died June 4th after a long battle with cancer. He was 73.

Nuriddin, a poet and musician, was sometimes called “The Grandfather of Rap Music.”  He also used the names Lighnin’ Rod and Alafia Pudim. Nuriddin was born July 24, 1944 in Brooklyn, N.Y.

The name Last Poets was taken from a poem by the South African revolutionary poet Keorapetse Kgositsile, who believed he was in the last era of poetry before guns would take over. The original users of that name were the trio of Felipe Luciano, Gylan Kain, and David Nelson.

Eddie Clearwater, Chicago Bluesman

Chicago bluesman Eddie Clearwater died Friday, June 1, at this home in Skokie, a Chicago suburb, of heart failure. He was 83.  Mr. Clearwater who sometimes performed wearing an Indian headdress, was born Edward Harrington in Macon, Miss., on Jan. 10, 1935.

Federal Judge George N. Leighton

Judge George Leighton, senior judge of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, died June 6 in his native Bedford, Massachusetts. Judge Leighton,  was 105. He also served as judge in Cook County, Illinois, and he became the first African American appointed to Illinois Appellate Court. The criminal courts building in Chicago is named in his honor.

 

Louis Farrakhan Jr., son of Minister Louis Farrakhan

Louis Farrakhan, Jr., oldest son of Minister Louis Farrakhan, died at the family home in Phoenix, Arizona, in his sleep, according to an announcement released by the Nation of Islam, which is based in Chicago. A cause of death for Louis Farrakhan, Jr., who was 60, was not disclosed.

 

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