Forty-two years ago—March 6, 1971 to be precise—BAM was one of three venues in the NYC region to take part in a three-day festival of poetry, New Black Poets in America 1971. Organized by the influential poet and playwright Amiri Baraka, the festival showcased nearly three dozen emerging African-American poets in three venues over three consecutive days. Most of the participants in the festival were associated with the Black Arts Movement (or BAM, as it's referred to), which was at its peak in 1971. (The other two participating venues were the Apollo Theater and Newark’s Temple B’nai Abraham.)
While the overall list of poets performing in the festival is impressive—notables include Clarence Major, Jayne Cortez, and Sonia Sanchez—the list of BAM poets who performed at BAM on March 6 is particularly impressive. Baraka himself performed, alongside Don L. Lee (who later changed his name to Haki R. Madhubuti), Carolyn Rodgers, Quincy Troupe, Ed Bullins, and a 28-year-old Nikki Giovanni, among others.