In Memoriam: Native Son Baraka Mccraw
Professor Johnie Scott and student Baraka Mccraw. Courtesy Johnie H. Scott Baraka Mccraw, Compton native son fondly remembered By JOHNIE SCOTT For those of you wondering about the life of Baraka Mccraw, who has inspired so many, let
Professor Johnie Scott and student Baraka Mccraw. Courtesy Johnie H. Scott
Baraka Mccraw, Compton native son fondly remembered
By JOHNIE SCOTT
For those of you wondering about the life of Baraka Mccraw, who has inspired so many, let me tell you about him, a young man I first met when he was a teenager coming out of Compton in the early 1990s.
Baraka was moody, rebellious, aloof to many, but to me, he had the heart of a poet and love for life. Mine was the experience of being, first, his professor, later, his mentor, and finally, his friend as I saw him grow and develop into his manhood.
We became good friends, and that friendship lasted long after he graduated from California State University, Northridge. We would talk about many things over the years, the last being his life choice to pursue music — rap. Coming out of Compton, his was a fierce generation and Compton, known for its mean streets, no easy place. But for Baraka, Compton was home and the music was life and it was his choice to leave neither. Instead, he transcended.
This same young man who I saw grow from a callow youth into a polished college graduate and frat man, Alpha Phi Alpha no less, would be gunned down just as he was coming into his own. He touched so many lives and yes, it is a darn shame that he had to be called from the living so early.
But Baraka Mccraw will be remembered — he made a difference. And, I thank CSUN for providing the venue where our paths would cross.
Johnie H. Scott is an emeritus professor at California State University, Northridge, where he served as an associate professor and past-chair in the Department of Africana Studies, College of Social and Behavioral Sciences. He retired recently after 33 years in 2017.