In 1967 Brooks’s participation at the Black Writers’ Conference at Fisk University made an indelible impact on her. Among the other speakers was Amiri Baraka, a vocal member of the Black Arts movement whose poetry raged against oppression. He joined like-minded poets in writing exclusively and directly to a Black audience, creating a sense of fellowship, instilling the power of self-determination, and rejecting racist institutions. Conversation at Fisk revealed to Brooks the possibilities of liberation in Black solidarity, and she would return home and do what she did best: write. In the Mecca centers on the Mecca Flats apartment complex in Chicago but also expands beyond it, connecting the disillusioned inhabitants of the dilapidated building to people suffering the conditions of racism everywhere.