Articles

Remembering Our History: Langston Hughes

In Uncategorized on February 3, 2011 by highendblog

This week marks the beginning of Black History Month, and I am in the spirit! Its focus is to reflect on Black heros who have made an contribution to America.

Throughout this month, I will post entries on various Black artists and entertainers from the past who paved the way for present acts of today. I would like to start off with poet and novelist, Langston Hughes.

James Mercer Langston Hughes was a shining example of diversity in American history. This part-African American, part-White American, part-Native American playwright, author, and columnist was one of the Harlem Renaissance’s most reputable figures. Born February 1st, 1902 (Happy Birthday Langston) in Joplin, Missouri, Hughes grew up with his grandmother after his parents divorced during his early childhood. Shortly after moving to Lincoln, Illinois to live with his mother, Langston began writing poetry. He released his first book of poetry, entitled The Weary Blues, in 1926, and his first novel, Not Without Laughter, in 1930.

Hughes is remembered for his dramatic portrayals of African-American life in the first half of the 20th century. He played upon the real day-to-day aspects of living in the United States, from the suffering and injustice to our love and growth in the world of music, language, and art. His poems, short stories, novels, and plays incorporated elements of his personal life and the objective black experience.

Hughes passed away in 1967 after complications arose from prostate cancer. In spite of his premature death, he managed to write over 50 literary works, become a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc., receive honorary degrees from both Howard and Lincoln University, receive an NAACP award, have his image added to the US Postal Service’s Black Heritage series of postage stamps, and have a school and his old block on 127th street in New York City named after him.

I’m leaving you with a poem that is one of my favorites:

The night is beautiful,
So the faces of my people.

The stars are beautiful,
So the eyes of my people

Beautiful, also, is the sun.
Beautiful, also, are the souls of my people.

-Langston Hughes, My People

JW

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