Michael F. Hopkins, 68, poet, educator, jazz critic and social commentator | Featured obituaries

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HOPKINS, Michael


December 15, 1952 – August 4, 2021

When Michael F. Hopkins decided to adopt an African name, he turned to the Yoruba language and chose Ajamu, which means “he fights for what he wants”.

Poet, educator and jazz critic for over 40 years, he was also an outspoken social commentator and oversaw a permanent forum, “A Deeper Groove”, which addressed jazz, graphic novels and other cultural issues.

One fan noted on Facebook that Mr. Hopkins “was a man of many talents. The fact that he did not shrink from the debate made him like it a lot… ”

He died on August 4 at Kenmore Mercy Hospital after a brief illness. He was 68 years old.

Born in Buffalo, the youngest of three, he attended School 87 and graduated from Kensington High School.

He attended the University of Buffalo, where he earned a BA in English, and then received a MA in American Studies in 1991.

As an instructor in the African American Studies Department at UB from 1979 to 1994, Mr. Hopkins created and taught the first courses ever offered on the Pulitzer Prize-winning fantasy comic “ElfQuest”. “Doonesbury” and acclaimed black science fiction author Octavia E. Butler.

He then worked as a book processor at the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library from 1996 to 2010.


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