Poet-Performer Jayne Cortez Dies

NEW YORK (January 5, 2013)--Jayne Cortez, a poet, activist and performance artist who blended oral and written traditions into numerous books and musical recordings, has died at the age of 78.

The Organization of Women Writers of Africa says Cortez died on Dec. 28 of heart failure in New York.

She had helped found the organization.

Cortez was a prominent figure in the black arts movement of the 1960s and '70s that advocated art as a vehicle for political protest.

She cited her experiences trying to register black voters in Mississippi in the early '60s as a key influence, toured worldwide and had been planning a symposium of women writers to be held in May in Ghana.

She was married twice, first to jazz musician Ornette Coleman and then to the sculptor Melvin Edwards.

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