Brownsville Heritage House Inc.

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Yusef Iman Memorial Archives

Joined Jan 16 2011
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General Info

89 years old
Brooklyn, NY
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Brownsville Heritage House Inc.

About Me

YUSEF IMAN ~ Cultural Activist, Singer, Poet, Actor, Teacher, Minister

Yusef Iman’s earth life was from October 6, 1933 to June 23, 1987, born in Savannah, Georgia. Since the early 1960s he was a Brownsville resident living in the Van Dyke developments at 361 Livonia Avenue and then moved to 393 Dumont Avenue which is right across the street from the Stone Avenue Library where the Brownsville Heritage House proudly exists. He was one of the most significant contributors to the Black Arts and Black Liberation movements in the 1960's. His art was revolutionary and progressive. It was at the Black Arts Repertory Theatre School in Harlem spearheaded by Amiri Baraka that catapulted Yusef Iman on the national stage. Yusef’s theatrical skills were highlighted and honed performing in revolutionary theater in such plays as "Dutchman,” "Black Mass," "Arm Yourself or Harm Yourself,” "Jello" written by Amiri Baraka and "The Militant Preacher" written by graphic artist and playwriter, Ben Caldwell, who affectionately refer to Yusef Iman as a “Supreme Activist.”

Yusef's metamorphosis began as a member of the Nation of Islam, through El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz's (Malcolm X) Muslim Mosque Inc., and the O.A.A.U. (Organization of Afro-American Unity). It was in the Muslim Mosque Inc. that Malcolm X bestowed the name "Yusef Iman" upon Joseph Washington, Jr. Malcolm always marveled how faithful he was, so he changed his name from Joseph which is Yusef in Arabic and Iman means faith.

As a revolutionary cultural activist, Yusef was determined to utilize the vehicle of art to “innerattain" indicating to educate and uplift the inner souls and consciousness of the audience and attain the messages given as opposed to just being entertained. Yusef’s significant accomplishments cannot be measured by the number of films and plays he performed in, but how he worked to give young people the opportunity to write, recite poetry and act in meaningful drama. Some of the books, poems and conscious songs published, “Poems for Beautiful Black Women,” "Weusi Alphabeti" (Black Alphabet), "Something Black," "Praise the Red, Black and Green," "Kwanzaa", "Love", "We Gonna Rise" and many others. His most famous poem, "Love Your Enemy" is published in the books, "Black Fire" and "Black Dialogue". Yusef was a dynamic activist with the Black Arts Repertory Theatre, the Spirit House Movers and Players in NewArk, New Jersey, the East Cultural Institution which housed the independent school, Uhuru Sasa in Brooklyn, NY. It was at The East, Yusef  organized the Weusi Kuumba Troupe which toured throughout the United States, the Caribbean and South America performing dramatic skits, poetry, conscious songs and African dance which captured the audience to feel proud and be a people of self-determination and self-respect. Yusef was much loved and highly respected for his work, dedication and unwavering faith that "We Gonna Rise!" as we "Organize and Unify!“ to  eliminate “Confusion” and make "Today is Ours!"


YUSEF IMAN MEMORIAL ARCHIVES / Abridged view:, Full view:

Please call or email to receive additional information or if you would like to purchase historical treasures from the Yusef Iman Memorial Archives: Phone: (347) 620-IMAN (4626) / Email: [email protected]

HISTORICAL TREASURES: The Pictorial History of "Renaissance Man" Yusef Iman (book), Original Kwanzaa Songs by Yusef Iman (CD), "The Black Mass" (dramatic play) by Amiri Baraka starring Yusef Iman (CD), The Wrens, "Come Back My Love" (CD), Amiri Baraka's "Black & Beautiful, Soul & Madness" (CD), "Kwanzaa with My Father" by Malika Iman (book)

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