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Langston Hughes

The life and writing of Langston Hughes

Pauline Jensen

on 22 January 2014

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Transcript of Langston Hughes

Langston Hughes
By: Pauline
Born February 1, 1902 in Joplin, Missouri
Hughes would work many different jobs that sent him from NY to Africa, Spain, Paris and Washington, D.C.
During this time he continued working on his poetry.
The Beginning:
Growing Success:
Harlem Renaissance:
Blues and Jazz were booming music themes for the speakeasies*
*Local clubs that served alcohol(during the Prohibition Act)
A famous club was the Cotton Club
Only African Americans could perform while only White people could socialize
Music was not the only way African Americans expressed themselves during this time:
Hughes was one of the first to combine Jazz with his work

A movement in the 1920s that marked the first time popular publishers and critics took African American literature and art seriously
and not just in New York City
Langston Hughes Lives On
In His Memory
Soon after his birth his parents split up:
His father, James moved to Mexico
His mother, Carrie moved around leaving Hughes with his Grandmother, Mary.
Hughes said the stories his grandmother would tell inspired him

His full birth name is: James Mercer Langston Hughes
After his grandmothers death in 1915 Langston moved to Lincoln, Illinois to be back with his mother. Soon after they moved to Cleveland, Ohio where she would leave him to fend for himself.

Mary was over seventy years old and she would tell stories to Langston.
While in high- school Langston started writing poetry
He wrote for the schools literary magazine
After graduating in 1920 he spent a year in Mexico visiting his father
It was around this time that he wrote
"The Negro Speaks of Rivers"
His poem was published in a magazine called The Crisis
In 1925 while he was working as a busboy in a Washington, D.C. hotel he met Vachel Lindsay (an American poet)

He showed Lindsay his own poems who thought they were good

Making this connection helped launch Hughes writing career into a new crowd
His poem "The Weary Blues" won 1st place in a magazine called the Opportunity landing him a scholarship to Lincoln University in Pennsylvania
In 1921 he moved back to the U.S. to live in New York
This would start his journey in what is now known as the Harlem Renaissance
1926-1st book of poetry: The Weary Blues
1927-2nd book of poetry: Fine Clothes to the Jews
1929- graduated Lincoln University- Published his 1st Novel: Not Without Laughter
1934-1st collection of short stories: The Ways of White Folks

Music playing is by the band he liked to use
called the Henry "Red" Allen Band
Winold Reiss
Harlem at Night
A play Hughes wrote with
Zora Hurston
In 1943 Hughes had an alter ego named Jesse B. Simple AKA Simple for a column in the Chicago Defender

A historical marker was placed at his Harlem Home on East 127th Street(1981)
Langston Hughes dies on May 22, 1967
A line from "The Negro Speaks of Rivers" marks the spot where Hughes ashes are
The entrance of the Arthur Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture
Full transcript