Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Langston Hughes, 1902

It is the birthday of novelist and poet Langston Hughes (1902), who figured prominently during the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s. In grammar school, he was elected class poet, though he said that was because of the stereotype that all African Americans have rhythm. He was one of two black students in his class. He began writing in high school and discovered a love of books. He wrote for the school paper and was an editor of the yearbook. He wrote his first jazz-style poem, When Sue Wears Red, when he was in high school. His signature poem, The Negro Speaks of Rivers, was published in 1921. In 1925, he worked as an assistant to historian Carter G. Woodson. He wrote 16 books of poetry, 11 novels and short story collections, six non-fiction books, 12 plays (including Mule Bone with Zora Neale Hurston), and eight children's books.

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