NEW YORK - Jayne Cortez, 78, a forceful poet, activist, and performance artist who blended oral and written traditions into numerous books and musical recordings, has died.
The Organization of Women Writers of Africa says Ms. Cortez died of heart failure in New York on Dec. 28. She had helped found the group and, while dividing her time between homes in New York and Senegal, was planning a symposium of women writers to be held in Ghana in May.
Ms. 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.