Hughes, James Mercer Langston (1902-1967)

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A prolific African American writer and a star of the Harlem renaissance of the 1920s and 1930s. He was one of the first black authors who could support himself by his writings. He wrote, in his words, “to explain and illuminate the Negro condition in America.” His works include poetry (incl. children’s), short stories, plays, books (fiction and autobiographies), musicals and operas, radio and television scripts, and magazine articles.

Photo: Library of Congress

Hughes on the Web:
Langston Hughes — The Academy of American Poets
A brief overview of Hughes’ career and a selected list of his works. Contains many good links including biographies, bibliographies, criticism, lesson plans, and E-texts.

Gale — Free Resources — Black History Month — Biographies
A more detailed treatment of Hughes’ life.

IMS: Langston Hughes, HarperAudio
Listen to Ossie Davis read four of Hughes’ stories:

  • Simple on Indian Blood
  • A Toast to Harlem
  • Last Whipping
  • Feet Live Their Own Life
Books about Hughes:
Berry, Faith. Langston Hughes: Before and Beyond Harlem. Westport, CT: Hill, 1983.

Meltzer, Milton. Langston Hughes. New York: Crowell, 1968.

Osofsky, Audrey. Free to Dream: The Making of a Poet: Langston Hughes. New York: Lothrop, Lee & Shepard, 1996.

Rampersad, Arnold. The Life of Langston Hughes. Volume 1: 1902-1941; I, Too, Sing America. New York: Oxford University Press, 1986.

—————. The Life of Langston Hughes. Volume 2: 1941-1967; I Dream a World. New York: Oxford University Press, 1988.