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This essay explores the complex relationship between white authority and the Black Arts Movement. Conceived as a radical break from white traditions, the Black Arts Movement was intended to create a creative space, independent of white influence, through which artists could speak directly to the needs and aspirations of the black community. However, as this essay argues, the attempts to clear white presence from black art only succeeded in bringing it closer, with the radical verse of poets like Amiri Baraka, Nikki Giovanni, and Sonia Sanchez triggering the same mechanisms of repression that have long been employed to suppress black resistance. One of the results is that in the poetry itself, a tension emerges between the rhetoric of defiance and the performance of acquiescence, a tacit acknowledgment of the enduring relationship between white authority and black art in the U. S.