. Hughes is best known for his work during the Harlem Renaissance
. He famously wrote about the period that "Harlem was in vogue."
Both of Hughes' paternal and maternal great-grandmothers were African-American, his maternal great-grandfather was white and of Scottish descent.
I, too, sing America. I am the darker brother. They send me to eat in the kitchen When company comes, But I laugh, And eat well, And grow strong.
They'll see how beautiful I am And be ashamed — I, too, am America.
The night is beautiful,So are the faces of my people.
I've known rivers: I've known rivers ancient as the world and older than the flow of human blood in human veins. My soul has grown deep like the rivers.
I've known rivers: Ancient, dusky rivers. My soul has grown deep like the rivers.
The stars went out and so did the moon.The singer stopped playing and went to bedWhile the Weary Blues echoed through his head.He slept like a rock or a man that's dead.
Way Down South in Dixie(Break the heart of me)They hung my black young loverTo a cross roads tree.
Love is a naked shadowOn a gnarled and naked tree.
While over Alabama earthThese words are gently spoken:Serve — and hate will die unborn.Love — and chains are broken.
Hold fast to dreamsFor if dreams dieLife is a broken-winged birdThat cannot fly.
. Hughes is best known for his work during the Harlem Renaissance
. He famously wrote about the period that "Harlem was in vogue."
Ancestry and childhoodBoth of Hughes' paternal and maternal great-grandmothers were African-American, his maternal great-grandfather was white and of Scottish descent. A paternal great-grandfather was of European Jewish descent. Hughes's maternal grandmother Mary Patterson was of African-American, French, English and Native American descent. One of the first women to attend Oberlin College
, she first married Lewis Sheridan Leary
, also of mixed race. Lewis Sheridan Leary
subsequently joined John Brown's Raid on Harper's Ferry in 1859 and died from his wounds.
In 1869 the widow Mary Patterson Leary married again, into the elite, politically active Langston family. Her second husband was Charles Henry Langston
, of African American, Native American, and Euro-American ancestry. He and his younger brother John Mercer Langston
worked for the abolitionist cause and helped lead the Ohio Anti-Slavery Society in 1858. Charles Langston later moved to Kansas, where he was active as an educator and activist for voting and rights for African Americans. Charles and Mary's daughter Caroline was the mother of Langston Hughes.
Langston Hughes was born in Joplin, Missouri
, the second child of school teacher Carrie (Caroline) Mercer Langston and James Nathaniel Hughes (1871–1934). Langston Hughes grew up in a series of Midwestern small towns.
Hughes's father left his family and later divorced Carrie, going to Cuba
, and then Mexico
, seeking to escape the enduring racism in the United States. After the separation of his parents, while his mother travelled seeking employment, young Langston Hughes was raised mainly by his maternal grandmother, Mary Patterson Langston, in Lawrence, Kansas. Through the black American oral tradition and drawing from the activist experiences of her generation, Mary Langston instilled in the young Langston Hughes a lasting sense of racial pride. He spent most of his childhood in Lawrence
. After the death of his grandmother, he went to live with family friends, James and Mary Reed, for two years. Because of the unstable early life, his childhood was not an entirely happy one, but it strongly influenced the poet he would become. Later, Hughes lived again with his mother Carrie in Lincoln
. She had remarried when he was still an adolescent, and eventually they lived in Cleveland
, where he attended high school. The Hughes' home in Cleveland was sold in foreclosure in 1918; the 2.5-story, wood-frame house on the city's east side was sold at a sheriff's auction in February for $16,667.
While in grammar school
in Lincoln, Hughes was elected class poet. Hughes stated that in retrospect he thought it was because of the stereotype that African Americans have rhythm. "I was a victim of a stereotype. There were only two of us Negro kids in the whole class and our English teacher was always stressing the importance of rhythm in poetry. Well, everyone knows, except us, that all Negroes have rhythm, so they elected me as class poet." During high school in Cleveland, Ohio, he wrote for the school newspaper, edited the yearbook, and began to write his first short stories, poetry, and dramatic plays. His first piece of jazz poetry, "When Sue Wears Red", was written while he was in high school. It was during this time that he discovered his love of books. From this early period in his life, Hughes would cite as influences on his poetry the American poets Paul Laurence Dunbar
and Carl Sandburg
Relationship with fatherHughes had a very poor relationship with his father. He lived with his father in Mexico for a brief period in 1919. Upon graduating from high school in June 1920, Hughes returned to Mexico to live with his father, hoping to convince him to support Langston's plan to attend Columbia University
. Hughes later said that, prior to arriving in Mexico: "I had been thinking about my father and his strange dislike of his own people. I didn't understand it, because I was a Negro, and I liked Negroes very much." Initially, his father had hoped for Hughes to attend a university abroad, and to study for a career in engineering. On these grounds, he was willing to provide financial assistance to his son but did not support his desire to be a writer. Eventually, Hughes and his father came to a compromise: Hughes would study engineering, so long as he could attend Columbia. His tuition provided; Hughes left his father after more than a year. While at Columbia in 1921, Hughes managed to maintain a B+ grade average. He left in 1922 because of racial prejudice, and his interests revolved more around the neighbourhood of Harlem
than his studies, though he continued writing poetry.
aboard the S.S. Malone in 1923, spending six months traveling to West Africa and Europe. In Europe, Hughes left the S.S. Malone for a temporary stay in Paris
During his time in England in the early 1920s, Hughes became part of the black expatriate community. In November 1924, Hughes returned to the U. S. to live with his mother in Washington, D.C.
Hughes worked at various odd jobs before gaining a white-collar job in 1925 as a personal assistant to the historian Carter G. Woodson
at the Association for the Study of African American Life and History
. As the work demands limited his time for writing, Hughes quit the position to work as a busboy at the Wardman Park Hotel. There he encountered the poet Vachel Lindsay
, with whom he shared some poems. Impressed with the poems, Lindsay publicized his discovery of a new black poet. By this time, Hughes's earlier work had been published in magazines and was about to be collected into his first book of poetry.
The following year, Hughes enrolled in Lincoln University
, a historically black university
in Chester County, Pennsylvania
. He joined the Omega Psi Phi
fraternity. Thurgood Marshall
, who later became an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States
, was an alumnus
and classmate of Langston Hughes during his undergraduate studies at Lincoln University.
After Hughes earned a B.A.
degree from Lincoln University in 1929, he returned to New York. Except for travels to the Soviet Union and parts of the Caribbean
, Hughes lived in Harlem as his primary home for the remainder of his life. During the 1930s, Hughes became a resident of Westfield, New Jersey
Some academics and biographers today believe that Hughes was homosexual and included homosexual codes in many of his poems, similar in manner to Walt Whitman
. Hughes has cited him as an influence on his poetry. Hughes's story "Blessed Assurance" deals with a father's anger over his son's effeminacy and "queerness". To retain the respect and support of black churches and organizations and avoid exacerbating his precarious financial situation, Hughes remained closeted.
, the primary biographer of Hughes, determined that Hughes exhibited a preference for other African-American men in his work and life. However, Rampersad denies Hughes's homosexuality in his biography. Rampersad concludes that Hughes was probably asexual and passive in his sexual relationships. He did, however show a respect and love for his fellow black man (and woman). Other scholars argue for Hughes's homosexuality: his love of black men is evidenced in a number of reported unpublished poems to an alleged black male lover.
DeathOn May 22, 1967, Hughes died from complications after abdominal surgery, related to prostate cancer
, at the age of 65. His ashes are interred beneath a floor medallion in the middle of the foyer in the Arthur Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem. It is the entrance to an auditorium named for him. The design on the floor covering his ashes is an African cosmogram
titled Rivers. The title is taken from his poem, "The Negro Speaks of Rivers
". Within the center of the cosmogram, above his ashes, is the line: "My soul has grown deep like the rivers".
CareerFirst published in The Crisis
in 1921, "The Negro Speaks of Rivers", which became Hughes's signature poem, was collected in his first book of poetry The Weary Blues (1926). Hughes's life and work were enormously influential during the Harlem Renaissance
of the 1920s, alongside those of his contemporaries, Zora Neale Hurston
, Wallace Thurman
, Claude McKay
, Countee Cullen
, Richard Bruce Nugent
, and Aaron Douglas
. Except for McKay, they worked together also to create the short-lived magazine Fire!! Devoted to Younger Negro Artists.
Hughes and his contemporaries had different goals and aspirations than the black middle class. They criticized men who were known as the midwives of the Harlem Renaissance: W. E. B. Du Bois, Jessie Redmon Fauset
, and Alain LeRoy Locke
, as being overly accommodating and assimilating eurocentric values and culture for social equality. Hughes and his fellows tried to depict the "low-life" in their art, that is, the real lives of blacks in the lower social-economic strata. They criticized the divisions and prejudices based on skin color within the black community. Hughes wrote what would be considered the manifesto published in The Nation
"The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain"
The younger Negro artists who create now intend to express
our individual dark-skinned selves without fear or shame.
If white people are pleased we are glad. If they are not,
it doesn't matter. We know we are beautiful. And ugly, too.
The tom-tom cries, and the tom-tom laughs. If colored people
are pleased we are glad. If they are not, their displeasure
doesn't matter either. We build our temples for tomorrow,
strong as we know how, and we stand on top of the mountain
free within ourselves.
Hughes was unashamedly black at a time when blackness was démodé. He stressed the theme of "black is beautiful" as he explored the black human condition in a variety of depths. His main concern was the uplift of his people, whose strengths, resiliency, courage, and humor he wanted to record as part of the general American experience. His poetry and fiction portrayed the lives of the working class blacks in America, lives he portrayed as full of struggle, joy, laughter, and music. Permeating his work is pride in the African-American identity and its diverse culture. "My seeking has been to explain and illuminate the Negro condition in America and obliquely that of all human kind," Hughes is quoted as saying. He confronted racial stereotypes, protested social conditions, and expanded African America’s image of itself; a “people’s poet” who sought to reeducate both audience and artist by lifting the theory of the black aesthetic into reality. An expression of this is the poem "My People":
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.
, Nicolás Guillén
, Léopold Sédar Senghor
, and Aimé Césaire
. Along with the works of Senghor, Césaire, and other French-speaking writers of Africa
and of African descent from the Caribbean, such as René Maran
and Léon Damas
from French Guiana
in South America
, the works of Hughes helped to inspire the Négritude
movement in France. A radical black self-examination was emphasized in the face of European colonialism. In addition to his example in social attitudes, Hughes had an important technical influence by his emphasis on folk and jazz rhythms as the basis of his poetry of racial pride.
In 1930, his first novel, Not Without Laughter
, won the Harmon Gold Medal for literature. The protagonist of the story is a boy named Sandy, whose family must deal with a variety of struggles due to their race and class, in addition to relating to one another. Maxim Lieber
became his literary agent, 1933–1945 and 1949-1950. Hughes's first collection of short stories was published in 1934 with The Ways of White Folks
. These stories are a series of vignettes revealing the humorous and tragic interactions between whites and blacks. Overall, they are marked by a general pessimism about race relations, as well as a sardonic realism. He received a Guggenheim Fellowship
The same year that Hughes established his theater troupe in Los Angeles, he realized an ambition related to films by co-writing the screenplay for Way Down South
. Hughes believed his failure to gain more work in the lucrative movie trade was due to racial discrimination within the industry.
In 1943, Hughes began publishing stories about a character he called Jesse B. Semple, often referred to and spelled "Simple", the everyday black man in Harlem who offered musings on topical issues of the day. Hughes seldom responded to requests to teach at colleges. In 1947, Hughes taught at Atlanta University. Hughes, in 1949, spent three months at University of Chicago Laboratory Schools
as a visiting lecturer. He wrote novels, short stories, plays, poetry, operas, essays, works for children, and, with the encouragement of his best friend and writer, Arna Bontemps
, and patron and friend, Carl Van Vechten
, two autobiographies, The Big Sea and I Wonder as I Wander, as well as translating several works of literature into English.
During the mid−1950s and −1960s, Hughes' popularity among the younger generation of black writers varied as his reputation increased worldwide. With the gradual advancement toward racial integration
, many black writers considered his writings of black pride and its corresponding subject matter out of date. They considered him a racial chauvinist. He found such writers, for instance, James Baldwin
, lacking in such pride, overintellectual in their work, and occasionally vulgar.
Hughes wanted young black writers to be objective about their race, but not to scorn it or flee it. He understood the main points of the Black Power
movement of the 1960s, but believed that some of the younger black writers who supported it were too angry in their work. Hughes's work Panther and the Lash, posthumously published in 1967, was intended to show solidarity with these writers, but with more skill and devoid of the most virulent anger and terse racial chauvinism some showed toward whites. Hughes continued to have admirers among the larger younger generation of black writers, whom he often helped by offering advice and introducing them to other influential persons in the literature and publishing communities. This latter group, including Alice Walker
, whom Hughes discovered, looked upon Hughes as a hero and an example to be emulated in degrees and tones within their own work. One of these young black writers observed of Hughes, "Langston set a tone, a standard of brotherhood and friendship and cooperation, for all of us to follow. You never got from him, 'I am the Negro writer,' but only 'I am a Negro writer.' He never stopped thinking about the rest of us."
Political viewsHughes, like many black writers and artists of his time, was drawn to the promise of Communism
as an alternative to a segregated
America. Many of his lesser-known political writings have been collected in two volumes published by the University of Missouri Press and reflect his attraction to Communism. An example is the poem "A New Song".
In 1932, Hughes became part of a group of black people who went to the Soviet Union
to make a film depicting the plight of African Americans in the United States. The film was never made, but Hughes was given the opportunity to travel extensively through the Soviet Union and to the Soviet-controlled regions in Central Asia, the latter parts usually closed to Westerners. While there, he met African-American Robert Robinson
, living in Moscow and unable to leave. In Turkmenistan
, Hughes met and befriended the Hungarian
. Hughes also managed to travel to China and Japan before returning to the States.
Hughes's poetry was frequently published in the CPUSA
newspaper and he was involved in initiatives supported by Communist organizations, such as the drive to free the Scottsboro Boys
. Partly as a show of support for the Republican
faction during the Spanish Civil War
, in 1937 Hughes traveled to Spain as a correspondent for the Baltimore Afro-American and other various African-American newspapers. Hughes was also involved in other Communist-led organizations like the John Reed Clubs and the League of Struggle for Negro Rights
. He was more of a sympathizer than an active participant. He signed a statement in 1938 supporting Joseph Stalin
and joined the American Peace Mobilization
in 1940 working to keep the U.S. from participating in World War II
Hughes initially did not favor black American involvement in the war because of the persistence of discriminatory U.S. Jim Crow laws
existing while blacks were encouraged to fight against Fascism
and the Axis powers
. He came to support the war effort and black American involvement in it after deciding that blacks would also be contributing to their struggle for civil rights
Hughes was accused of being a Communist by many on the political right, but he always denied it. When asked why he never joined the Communist Party, he wrote "it was based on strict discipline and the acceptance of directives that I, as a writer, did not wish to accept." In 1953, he was called before the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations led by Senator Joseph McCarthy
. Following his appearance, he distanced himself from Communism and was subsequently rebuked by some who had previously supported him on the Radical Left. Over time, Hughes would distance himself from his most radical poems. In 1959 his collection of Selected Poems was published. He excluded his most controversial work from this group of poems.
Stage and film depictionsHughes's life has been depicted in many stage and film productions. Hannibal of the Alps by Michael Dinwiddie and Paper Armor by Eisa Davis are plays by African-American playwrights which deal with Hughes's sexuality. In the 1989 film, Looking for Langston, British filmmaker Isaac Julien
claimed Hughes as a black gay icon — Julien thought that Hughes' sexuality had historically been ignored or downplayed. In the film Get on the Bus
, directed by Spike Lee
, a black gay character, played by Isaiah Washington
, invokes the name of Hughes and punches a homophobic character while commenting, "This is for James Baldwin and Langston Hughes." Film portrayals of Hughes include Gary LeRoi Gray
's role as a teenage Hughes in the 2003 short subject film Salvation (based on a portion of his autobiography The Big Sea) and Daniel Sunjata
as Hughes in the 2004 film Brother to Brother. Hughes' Dream Harlem, a documentary by Jamal Joseph, examines Hughes' works and environment.
Literary archivesThe Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
at Yale University
holds the Langston Hughes papers (1862–1980) and the Langston Hughes collection (1924–1969) containing letters, manuscripts, personal items, photographs, clippings, artworks, and objects that document the life of Hughes. The Langston Hughes Memorial Library on the campus of Lincoln University
, as well as at the James Weldon Johnson
Collection within the Yale University
also hold archives of Hughes' work.
Honors and awards
- 1943, Lincoln University awarded Hughes an honorary Litt.D.Doctor of LettersDoctor of Letters is a university academic degree, often a higher doctorate which is frequently awarded as an honorary degree in recognition of outstanding scholarship or other merits.-Commonwealth:...
- 1960, the NAACPNational Association for the Advancement of Colored PeopleThe National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, usually abbreviated as NAACP, is an African-American civil rights organization in the United States, formed in 1909. Its mission is "to ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights of all persons and to...
awarded Hughes the Spingarn MedalSpingarn MedalThe Spingarn Medal is awarded annually by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People for outstanding achievement by an African American....
for distinguished achievements by an African American.
- 1961 National Institute of Arts and LettersThe American Academy of Arts and LettersThe American Academy of Arts and Letters is a 250-member honor society; its goal is to "foster, assist, and sustain excellence" in American literature, music, and art. Located in Washington Heights, a neighborhood in Upper Manhattan in New York, it shares Audubon Terrace, its Beaux Arts campus on...
- 1963 Howard UniversityHoward UniversityHoward University is a federally chartered, non-profit, private, coeducational, nonsectarian, historically black university located in Washington, D.C., United States...
awarded Hughes an honorary doctorateDoctorateA doctorate is an academic degree or professional degree that in most countries refers to a class of degrees which qualify the holder to teach in a specific field, A doctorate is an academic degree or professional degree that in most countries refers to a class of degrees which qualify the holder...
- 1973, the first Langston Hughes MedalLangston Hughes MedalThe Langston Hughes Medal is awarded annually to recognize an influential and engaging African American writer. Established by the late Raymond Patterson, Professor Emeritus of English at the City College of New York, the medal honors Langston Hughes' life-long commitment to social change through...
was awarded by the City College of New YorkCity College of New YorkThe City College of the City University of New York is a senior college of the City University of New York , in New York City. It is also the oldest of the City University's twenty-three institutions of higher learning...
- 1979, Langston Hughes Middle School was created in RestonReston, VirginiaReston is a census-designated place in Fairfax County, Virginia, United States, within the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. The population was 58,404, at the 2010 Census and 56,407 at the 2000 census...
, VirginiaVirginiaThe Commonwealth of Virginia , is a U.S. state on the Atlantic Coast of the Southern United States. Virginia is nicknamed the "Old Dominion" and sometimes the "Mother of Presidents" after the eight U.S. presidents born there...
- 1981, New York City Landmark status was given to the Harlem home of Langston Hughes at 20 East 127th Street (40°48′26.32"N 73°56′25.54"W) by the New York City Landmarks Preservation CommissionNew York City Landmarks Preservation CommissionThe New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission is the New York City agency charged with administering the city's Landmarks Preservation Law. The Commission was created in April 1965 by Mayor Robert F. Wagner following the destruction of Pennsylvania Station the previous year to make way for...
and 127th St. was renamed Langston Hughes Place. The Langston Hughes HouseLangston Hughes HouseLangston Hughes House is a historic home located in Harlem, New York, New York. It is an Italianate style dwelling built in 1869. It is a three story with basement, rowhouse faced in brownstone and measuring 20 feet wide and 45 feet deep...
was listed on the National Register of Historic PlacesNational Register of Historic PlacesThe National Register of Historic Places is the United States government's official list of districts, sites, buildings, structures, and objects deemed worthy of preservation...
- 2002 The United States Postal Service added the image of Langston Hughes to its Black Heritage series of postage stamps.
- 2002, scholar Molefi Kete AsanteMolefi Kete AsanteMolefi Kete Asante is an African-American scholar, historian, and philosopher. He is a leading figure in the fields of African American studies, African Studies and Communication Studies...
listed Langston Hughes on his list of 100 Greatest African Americans100 Greatest African Americans100 Greatest African Americans is a biographical dictionary of the one hundred historically greatest African Americans , as assessed by Molefi Kete Asante in 2002.-Criteria:...
- The Weary BluesThe Weary Blues"The Weary Blues" is a poem written by American poet Langston Hughes.Written in 1925, "The Weary Blues" was first published in the Urban League magazine, Opportunity. It was awarded best poem of the year by the magazine...
, Knopf, 1926
- Fine Clothes to the JewFine Clothes to the JewFine Clothes to the Jew is a 1927 poetry collection by Langston Hughes published by Alfred A. Knopf. Because it departed from sentimental depictions of African-American culture, the collection was widely criticized, especially in the Black press, when it was published.-Publication and response:The...
, Knopf, 1927
- The Negro Mother and Other Dramatic Recitations, 1931
- Dear Lovely Death, 1931
- The Dream Keeper and Other Poems, Knopf, 1932
- Scottsboro Limited: Four Poems and a Play, Golden Stair Press, N.Y., 1932
- Let America Be America AgainLet America be America again"Let America Be America Again" is a poem written in 1935 by Langston Hughes. It was originally published in the July 1936 issue of Esquire Magazine. It was later republished in the 1937 issue of Kansas Magazine and was revised and included in a small collection of Langston Hughes poems titled A New...
- Shakespeare in Harlem, Knopf, 1942
- Freedom's Plow, 1943
- Fields of Wonder, Knopf, 1947
- One-Way Ticket, 1949
- Montage of a Dream DeferredMontage of a Dream DeferredMontage of a Dream Deferred is a book-length poem suite published by Langston Hughes in 1951. Its jazz poetry style focuses on descriptions of Harlem and its mostly African-American inhabitants. The original edition was 75 pages long and comprised 91 individually titled poems, which were intended...
, Holt, 1951
- Selected Poems of Langston Hughes, 1958
- Ask Your Mama: 12 Moods for Jazz, Hill & Wang, 1961
- The Panther and the Lash: Poems of Our Times, 1967
- The Collected Poems of Langston Hughes, Knopf, 1994
Novels and short story collections
- Not Without LaughterNot Without LaughterNot Without Laughter is a novel written by Langston Hughes and published in 1930. It is Hughes' first novel, and first major work of prose.-Plot introduction:...
. Knopf, 1930
- The Ways of White Folks. Knopf, 1934
- Simple Speaks His Mind. 1950
- Laughing to Keep from Crying, Holt, 1952
- Simple Takes a Wife. 1953
- Sweet Flypaper of Life, photographs by Roy DeCaravaRoy DeCaravaRoy Rudolph DeCarava was an American photographer. DeCarava and poet Langston Hughes collaborated on a notable 1955 book on life in Harlem, The Sweet Flypaper of Life...
- Tambourines to Glory 1958
- The Best of Simple. 1961
- Simple's Uncle Sam. 1965
- Something in Common and Other Stories. Hill & Wang, 1963
- Short Stories of Langston Hughes. Hill & Wang, 1996
- The Big Sea. New York: Knopf, 1940
- Famous American Negroes. 1954
- I Wonder as I Wander. New York: Rinehart & Co., 1956
- A Pictorial History of the Negro in America, with Milton MeltzerMilton MeltzerMilton Meltzer was an American historian and author best known for his history nonfiction books on Jewish, African-American and American history...
- Famous Negro Heroes of America. 1958
- Fight for Freedom: The Story of the NAACP. 1962
Major plays by Hughes
- Mule BoneMule BoneMule Bone: A Comedy of Negro Life is a 1930 play by American authors Langston Hughes and Zora Neale Hurston. The process of writing the play led Hughes and Hurston, who had been close friends, to sever their relationship. Mule Bone was not staged until 1991.-Characters:Jim Weston: A guitarist and...
, with Zora Neale Hurston. 1931
- Mulatto. 1935 (renamed The Barrier, an operaOperaOpera is an art form in which singers and musicians perform a dramatic work combining text and musical score, usually in a theatrical setting. Opera incorporates many of the elements of spoken theatre, such as acting, scenery, and costumes and sometimes includes dance...
, in 1950)
- Troubled Island, with William Grant StillWilliam Grant StillWilliam Grant Still was an African-American classical composer who wrote more than 150 compositions. He was the first African American to conduct a major American symphony orchestra, the first to have a symphony performed by a leading orchestra, the first to have an opera performed by a major...
- Little Ham. 1936
- Emperor of Haiti. 1936
- Don't You Want to be Free? 1938
- Street SceneStreet Scene (opera)Street Scene is a Broadway musical or, more precisely, an "American opera" by Kurt Weill , Langston Hughes , and Elmer Rice...
, contributed lyrics. 1947
- Tambourines to glory. 1956
- Simply Heavenly. 1957
- Black NativityBlack NativityBlack Nativity is a retelling of the classic Nativity story with an entirely black cast. Traditional Christmas carols are sung in gospel style, with a few songs created specifically for the show. Originally written by Langston Hughes, the show was first performed on Broadway on December 11, 1961,...
- Five Plays by Langston Hughes. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1963.
- Jericho-Jim CrowJericho-Jim CrowJerico-Jim Crow is a critically acclaimed 1964 musical, with a book written by Langston Hughes. It was a pioneering work in the urban contemporary gospel musical style, based on the themes of the Civil Rights Movement in the United States...
Works for children
- Popo and Fifina, with Arna Bontemps. 1932
- The First Book of the Negroes. 1952
- The First Book of Jazz. 1954
- Marian AndersonMarian AndersonMarian Anderson was an African-American contralto and one of the most celebrated singers of the twentieth century...
: Famous Concert Singer. with Steven C. Tracy 1954
- The First Book of Rhythms. 1954
- The First Book of the West Indies. 1956
- First Book of Africa. 1964
- The Langston Hughes Reader. New York: Braziller, 1958.
- Good Morning Revolution: Uncollected Social Protest Writings by Langston Hughes. Lawrence Hill, 1973.
- The Collected Works of Langston Hughes. Missouri: University of Missouri Press, 2001.
- "My Adventures as a Social Poet" by Langston Hughes. Essay. Phylon 3rd Quarter 1947
- "The Negro Artist and The Racial Mountain" by Langston Hughes. Article in The Nation, 23 June 1926
- African American literatureAfrican American literatureAfrican-American literature is the body of literature produced in the United States by writers of African descent. The genre traces its origins to the works of such late 18th century writers as Phillis Wheatley and Olaudah Equiano, reaching early high points with slave narratives and the Harlem...
- Harlem RenaissanceHarlem RenaissanceThe Harlem Renaissance was a cultural movement that spanned the 1920s and 1930s. At the time, it was known as the "New Negro Movement", named after the 1925 anthology by Alain Locke...
- Langston Hughes SocietyLangston Hughes SocietyThe Langston Hughes Society is a United States-based literary society concerned with the work of African American poet Langston Hughes. The society was the first national organisation to be dedicated to the work of an African American writer...
- NégritudeNégritudeNégritude is a literary and ideological movement, developed by francophone black intellectuals, writers, and politiciansin France in the 1930s by a group that included the future Senegalese President Léopold Sédar Senghor, Martinican poet Aimé Césaire, and the Guianan Léon Damas.The Négritude...
- Pan-AfricanismPan-AfricanismPan-Africanism is a movement that seeks to unify African people or people living in Africa, into a "one African community". Differing types of Pan-Africanism seek different levels of economic, racial, social, or political unity...
- Yale Lecture on Langston Hughes audio, video and full transcripts from Open Yale Courses
- Langston Hughes on Poets.org With poems, related essays, and links
- Profile and poems of Langston Hughes, including audio files and scholarly essays, at the Poetry Foundation.
- Profile at Modern American Poetry
- Beinecke Library, Yale. "Langston Hughes at 100".
- FBI profile
- PBS profile
- Profile at Library of Congress
- Langston Hughes in Lawrence, Kansas. Photographs and biographical resources
Archive and works
- Langston Hughes Papers. James Weldon Johnson Collection in the Yale Collection of American Literature, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library.
- Langston Hughes Collection. Yale Collection of American Literature, Beineicke Rare Book and Manuscript Library.
- The Langston Hughes Papers Digital collection from the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale.
- Resources at Library of Congress including audio.
- "My Adventures as a Social Poet" by Langston Hughes. Essay. Phylon 3rd Quarter 1947
- "The Negro Artist and The Racial Mountain" by Langston Hughes. Article in The Nation, 23 June 1926
- Representative Poetry Online, University of Toronto