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 Langston Hughes Table




Books by Langston Hughes

Weary Blues (1926) / The Collected Poems of Langston Hughes  /  The Ways of White Folks (Stories) / The Big Sea: An Autobiography

Best of Simple    /  I Wonder as I Wander: An Autobiographical Journey  / New Negro Poets U.S.A.

Not Without Laughter  /Five Plays by Langston Hughes / Selected Poems of Langston Hughes

Ask Your Mama: Twelve Moods for Jazz / Fine Clothes to the Jew / The Collected Works of Langston Hughes (Poems 1921-1940)

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“Hughes, perhaps more than any other author, knows and loves the Negro masses.”1 That is why Hughes, perhaps more than any other writer, appeals to the masses of Negro high school students. Both verse and stories are easy to understand, but written with skill. Unlike many other Negro authors, Hughes neither wrote about the dull, cultured, intellectual elite, who are unpopular with students, nor did he glory in gory lynchings and sex perversions, which are unpopular with school boards. His writings are about poor, ordinary people but with a strong sense of humor. When asked what Negro writers they like, students invariably list Hughes.

Langston Hughes is difficult to classify as a writer. He was among the leaders of the Negro Renaissance, but he continued to write later than most others of this period. He wrote poetry, short stories, novels, essays and edited many collections of Negro writings.

Hughes had written a number of short story collections, among them Laughing to Keep from Crying (New York: Henry Holt and Co., 1952, o. p.), Something in Common and Other Stories (New York: Hill & Wang, Inc., 1963), and The Ways of White Folks (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., 1934). Most of the stories are humorous, but one always knows that much of the laughing is “to keep from crying.” Topics vary from white tourists in Harlem to brothels in Cuba to standard problems of getting a job and family spats. Although many of the stories deal with prostitutes and drinking and other forms of “low life,” these are not treated in an objectionable manner. more

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Poetry by Langston Hughes—The Weary Blues

Music in the Life of Langston Hughes


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Bio Sketch 

Celebrating  Langston Hughes

In Praise of Langston Hughes 

Letter to Marcus Christian    

Langston Hughes and Africa

Life and Works  

The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain

New Negro Poets U.S.A.  

Notes of a Native Son  (Langston Reviews Baldwin)

Sermon and Blues   

Socialist Joy 

what Langston did


Related files

A’lelia Walker

Arna Bontemps

      Acknowledges Documents from Christian  

     Advises Christian on a Rosenwald Fellowship  

     A Black Man Thinks of Reaping  

     Illinois WPA — Arna Bontemps 

     Southern Mansion

Bearing the Owners Names

Black Arts and Black Power Figures


Claude McKay


     Black Consciousness Poet—Claude McKay 

     In-Dependence from Bondage

    The Life and Times of Black Poet Claude McKay  

Countee Cullen

Eldridge Cleaver


     My Friend the Devil (Marvin X memoir)

Frank Marshal Davis

     Livin’ The Blues Contents

     Frank Marshall Davis Speaks

Hoyt Fuller

James Baldwin

James Weldon Johnson

     God’s Trombones

     Race Prejudice and the Negro Artist

Kalamu ya Salaam

Katherine Dunham

     Dancing a Life

     Drumvoices Festival of Arts

     Ruth Lonely for Christian: Chicago Wears Thin

     Selections from the Katherine Dunham Collection at the Library of Congress

Melvin B Tolson Chronology

Mercer Cook

Miles Davis

     Miles (Grue) 

     miles davis (Sharif) 

     Miles Davis Poem  (Kalamu) 

Negro Spirituals and American Culture

Okonkwo’s Curse

Ralph Ellison

     Atlantic Monthly Reviews Invisible Man


     Biography Rampersad

     Cassidy Reviews Invisible Man 

     Influences of Twenties and Thirties

     What America Would Be Like Without Blacks


Richard Wright Table  

Romare Bearden

     About Romare Bearden

     The Negro Artist and Modern Art

Sensualization of Pain 

Why Africa is not Israel  

Zora Neale Hurston

     The Black Joan of Arc

     Choreographing the Folk


     Court Order Can’t Make Races Mix

     zora smiles 

     zora smiles 2 


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Scholarly Books on Langston Hughes

Martha Cobb. Harlem,  Haiti, and Havana: A comparative critical study of Langston Hughes, Jacques Roumain, Nicolás Guillén. 1979.

Faith Berry. Before & Beyond Harlem: Biography of Langston Hughes. 1995.

Onwuchekwa Jemie Langston Hughes: An Introduction to the Poetry (1985)

Edward J. Mullen. Langston Hughes in the Hispanic World and Haiti (1971)

Arnold Rampersad. The Life of Langston Hughes: Volume I: 1902-1941, I, Too, Sing America (Life of Langston Hughes, 1902-1941). 2002

Arnold Rampersad. The Life of Langston Hughes: Volume II: 1914-1967, I Dream a World (Life of Langston Hughes, 1941-1967). 2002

Steven C. Tracy. Langston Hughes and the Blues. 2001

R. Baxter Miller. The Art And Imagination of Langston Hughes. 2006.

Jonathan Scott Socialist Joy in the Writing of Langston Hughes. 2006

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The 1920’s noisily brought in the Negro Renaissance—the exciting period when outstanding black writers suddenly began to appear and to assert the values of Negro culture instead of middle-class society. It was also a period when white writers became intrigued with Negroes, and Harlem became the most exciting part of New York.

Several factors contributed to the blossoming of the Negro Renaissance. By the 1920’s education for Negroes, though still difficult, was not unusual, and a fairly large middle class and a small intelligentsia had developed. Harlem developed into a center for Negro culture, where Negro writers and thinkers could analyze their work together and share the problems of writing.

By the 1920’s the Negro writer was able to assume a more mature attitude toward the white culture. He had attained enough freedom to assert himself as an individual; however, he had also experienced enough discrimination to know the assimilation was not possible for him, so he turned in the other direction, toward self-assertion. Earlier Negro writings had attacked the cruelties of the white culture; the writers of the Renaissance revolted against the culture itself. The Negro Renaissance affirms that the white culture is weak, or at least inferior to the black culture, and that the Negro should refuse assimilation.

The white culture encouraged this rejection, for this was the time of the roaring 20’s, and the whites were themselves rejecting their Victorian culture. Many came to Harlem seeking a new culture.

Writing flourished. The writers of this period were capable craftsmen who could stand on their own merits in competition with other American writers.

CLAUDE McKAY (1891–1948)

Claude McKay was one of the most outspoken of the Negro Renaissance writers—openly embracing ideas generally considered repugnant. He pointed out the weaknesses of the white culture while predicting its downfall. He gloried in both the virtues and what others may consider the vices of the Negro and advocated revolt against whites and their culture. Many of his ideas are now being popularized by the Black Power movement. . . .

JEAN TOOMER (1894–1967)

“Cane is an important American novel. By far the most impressive product of the Negro Renaissance, it ranks with Richard Wright’s Native Son and Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man as a measure of the Negro novelist’s highest achievement. Jean Toomer belongs to that first rank of writers who use words almost as a plastic medium shaping new meanings from an original and highly personal style. Since stylistic innovation requires great technical dexterity, Toomer displays a concern for technique which is fully two decades in advance of the period. While his contemporaries of the Harlem school were still experimenting with crude literary realism, Toomer had progressed beyond the naturalistic novel to the “higher realism of the emotions” to symbol, and to myth” (Robert Bone, The Negro Novel in America).

Cane (New York: Boni and Liveright, 1923, o.p.; reissued New York: University Place Book shop) is an unusual book, a series of vignettes and poems about life among Negroes in the South. It gives an impression like a photograph album of a trip. Some of the pictures, like the one of Robert, are only character sketches; “Kabnis” is almost a novelette; many are poems, and other selections vary in length. Subjects, too, vary from the tender story of lovely Fern who could not find love with anyone to the story of Bessie, the outcast white woman with two Negro children. Although the themes are often of violence and oppression, the characters are built with sympathy and understanding. The work is out of print, and copies are quite rare, though several of the poems are reprinted in most Negro poetry collections. Jean Toomer did not fulfill the promise of this remarkable work but instead disappeared from the literary scene.

COUNTEE CULLEN (1903–1946)

Countee Cullen was one of the most significant writers of the Negro Renaissance. More middle-class than McKay, he wrote with pathos and understatement instead of violence and passion. On These I Stand (New York: Harper & Row, Publishers, 1947) is a selection of his best poems. The poems from Color (o.p.) deal with the Negro’s search for identity and the meaning of race. “Yet Do I Marvel,” one of Cullen’s most famous poems, asks how Gold could make a poet black and bid him sing. “The Shroud of Color” is a long poem that explores the meaning of color in a kind of mystical vision. “Heritage” explores the relationship of the Negro to this African heritage. Two other poems with milder racial undertones that should be useful with high school students are “Saturday’s Child,” about a child born into poverty, and “Tableau,” about a white boy and a Negro walking together. . . .


[Zora Neale Hurston, folklorist and writer, became a central figure in the Harlem Renaissance. Hurston was born and educated in Eatonville, Florida, the first incorporated black city in the United States. At the age of 16, she left her home to work with a traveling theatrical company. The company ended up in New York City , where Hurston studied anthropology at Columbia University. She then attended Howard University as well as Barnard College.]

Their Eyes Were Watching God  (Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott Co., 1937, o. p.) is one of the most significant Negro novels of the period. While it is not a great book, it is a very good one. It has a sensitivity in language that at times becomes poetic. Theme and character are developed well. From tender adolescent dreams, Janie was forced into a respectable but loveless marriage. She soon ran off with romance, but it too became respectable and she found herself the mayor’s wife, but still not in love. Finally, as a forty-year-old widow with a fortune, she threw over her respectable position for a young gambler who offered nothing but love. Although her two years with Teacake brought terrible suffering, Janie felt that she had found fulfillment. . . .


Nella Larsen wrote sentimental women’s novels that are not quite successful. Her novels seem to be trying too hard: the characters are overdrawn, the conflicts are exaggerated, and the plots are too shocking. Passing (1929, o.p.) contrasts Irene, who had stayed with her people and married a well-to-do Negro, with Clare, a Negro who had married a wealthy white man. Clare was unhappy and wanted to return to Negro life but could not because of her husband and daughter. She had an affair with Irene’s husband and as a result Irene pushed her out of the window. . . .


Arna Bontemps is one of the most important figures in American Negro literature, although he is probably better known for his anthologies and Negro history collections than for his own work.

Bontemps’ best novel is Black Thunder (New York: The Macmillan Company, 1936, o. p.). It is a panoramic view of a slave rebellion in Virginia. Gabriel, the leader of the revolt, is the central character, but the scene shifts through a number of minor characters—both Negro and white—who are connected with the plot. With this panoramic technique, Bontemps successfully maintains suspense for a very short plot.

Source: Barbara Dodds • Negro Literature for High School Students • © Copyright 1968 • National Council of Teacher of English • Champaign, Illinois 61820

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Ralph Ellison on the Influence of Existentialism and Negro Renaissance

Now for the main ideological and intellectual forces operating within the small group in which I found myself: There was the psychological in the form of Freudianism, the political in the form of Marxism, and in Malraux’s fiction and criticism, which questioned the assertions of both, there were the concepts of existentialism. With these there was the living presence of Langston Hughes, Claude McKay, Countee Cullen, Sterling Brown and Alain Locke. Now I don’t mean that these figures were “influences” in any simple-minded way, but that their examples were part of the glamour of Harlem and thus important to your sense of opportunity.

And, although you had a vague but different set of tunes tinkling in your head and sought other solutions and perhaps a more complex form in which to work, you respected them and their achievements. You respected them even after you discovered that some of them like, say, McKay, were inarticulate when it came to discussing technique. In fact, Wright was far more articulate in that area than either Hughes or McKay.

But, there was another factor which I found most important. The writers I’ve just mentioned related to Harlem and to the waning influence of the Negro Renaissance, but there was a wider world of culture to be found in New York, and I made my closest contacts with it on the Writers Project. There you were thrown in contact not only with black and white writers of your own age grouping, but with a number who had already achieved broad reputations. McKay was one of these, but most were white.

Source: The Essential Ellison (Interview)—Ishmael Reed, Quincy Troupe, Steve Cannon. Ishmael Reed’s and Al Young’s Y’Bird • Copyright © 1977, 1978 Y’Bird Magazine

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Leonard Harris  and Charles Molesworth. Alain L. Locke: The Biography of a Philosopher (2008)–Alain L. Locke (1886-1954), in his famous 1925 anthology The New Negro, declared that “the pulse of the Negro world has begun to beat in Harlem.” Often called the father of the Harlem Renaissance, Locke had his finger directly on that pulse, promoting, influencing, and sparring with such figures as Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, Jacob Lawrence, Richmond Barthé, William Grant Still, Booker T. Washington, W. E. B. Du Bois, Ralph Bunche, and John Dewey. The long-awaited first biography of this extraordinarily gifted philosopher and writer, Alain L. Locke narrates the untold story of his profound impact on twentieth-century America’s cultural and intellectual life. Leonard Harris and Charles Molesworth trace this story through Locke’s Philadelphia upbringing, his undergraduate years at Harvard—where William James helped spark his influential engagement with pragmatism—and his tenure as the first African American Rhodes Scholar. The heart of their narrative illuminates Locke’s heady years in 1920s New York City and his forty-year career at Howard University, where he helped spearhead the adult education movement of the 1930s and wrote on topics ranging from the philosophy of value to the theory of democracy.

*   *   *   *   *’s 25 Best Selling Books

For July 1st through August 31st 2011  


#1 – Justify My Thug by Wahida Clark #2 – Flyy Girl by Omar Tyree #3 – Head Bangers: An APF Sexcapade by Zane #4 – Life Is Short But Wide by J. California Cooper #5 – Stackin’ Paper 2 Genesis’ Payback by Joy King #6 – Thug Lovin’ (Thug 4) by Wahida Clark #7 – When I Get Where I’m Going by Cheryl Robinson #8 – Casting the First Stone by Kimberla Lawson Roby #9 – The Sex Chronicles: Shattering the Myth by Zane

#10 – Covenant: A Thriller  by Brandon Massey

#11 – Diary Of A Street Diva  by Ashley and JaQuavis

#12 – Don’t Ever Tell  by Brandon Massey

#13 – For colored girls who have considered suicide  by Ntozake Shange

#14 – For the Love of Money : A Novel by Omar Tyree

#15 – Homemade Loves  by J. California Cooper

#16 – The Future Has a Past: Stories by J. California Cooper

#17 – Player Haters by Carl Weber

#18 – Purple Panties: An Anthology by Sidney Molare

#19 – Stackin’ Paper by Joy King

#20 – Children of the Street: An Inspector Darko Dawson Mystery by Kwei Quartey

#21 – The Upper Room by Mary Monroe

#22 – Thug Matrimony  by Wahida Clark

#23 – Thugs And The Women Who Love Them by Wahida Clark

#24 – Married Men by Carl Weber

#25 – I Dreamt I Was in Heaven – The Rampage of the Rufus Buck Gang by Leonce Gaiter


#1 – Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention by Manning Marable #2 – Confessions of a Video Vixen by Karrine Steffans #3 – Dear G-Spot: Straight Talk About Sex and Love by Zane #4 – Letters to a Young Brother: MANifest Your Destiny by Hill Harper #5 – Peace from Broken Pieces: How to Get Through What You’re Going Through by Iyanla Vanzant #6 – Selected Writings and Speeches of Marcus Garvey by Marcus Garvey #7 – The Ebony Cookbook: A Date with a Dish by Freda DeKnight #8 – The Isis Papers: The Keys to the Colors by Frances Cress Welsing #9 – The Mis-Education of the Negro by Carter Godwin Woodson

#10 – John Henrik Clarke and the Power of Africana History  by Ahati N. N. Toure

#11 – Fail Up: 20 Lessons on Building Success from Failure by Tavis Smiley

#12 –The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander

#13 – The Black Male Handbook: A Blueprint for Life by Kevin Powell

#14 – The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates by Wes Moore

#15 – Why Men Fear Marriage: The Surprising Truth Behind Why So Many Men Can’t Commit  by RM Johnson

#16 – Black Titan: A.G. Gaston and the Making of a Black American Millionaire by Carol Jenkins

#17 – Brainwashed: Challenging the Myth of Black Inferiority by Tom Burrell

#18 – A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose by Eckhart Tolle

#19 – John Oliver Killens: A Life of Black Literary Activism by Keith Gilyard

#20 – Alain L. Locke: The Biography of a Philosopher by Leonard Harris

#21 – Age Ain’t Nothing but a Number: Black Women Explore Midlife by Carleen Brice

#22 – 2012 Guide to Literary Agents by Chuck Sambuchino #23 – Chicken Soup for the Prisoner’s Soul by Tom Lagana #24 – 101 Things Every Boy/Young Man of Color Should Know by LaMarr Darnell Shields

#25 – Beyond the Black Lady: Sexuality and the New African American Middle Class  by Lisa B. Thompson

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Sex at the Margins

Migration, Labour Markets and the Rescue Industry

By Laura María Agustín

This book explodes several myths: that selling sex is completely different from any other kind of work, that migrants who sell sex are passive victims and that the multitude of people out to save them are without self-interest. Laura Agustín makes a passionate case against these stereotypes, arguing that the label ‘trafficked’ does not accurately describe migrants’ lives and that the ‘rescue industry’ serves to disempower them. Based on extensive research amongst both migrants who sell sex and social helpers, Sex at the Margins provides a radically different analysis. Frequently, says Agustin, migrants make rational choices to travel and work in the sex industry, and although they are treated like a marginalised group they form part of the dynamic global economy. Both powerful and controversial, this book is essential reading for all those who want to understand the increasingly important relationship between sex markets, migration and the desire for social justice. “Sex at the Margins rips apart distinctions between migrants, service work and sexual labour and reveals the utter complexity of the contemporary sex industry. This book is set to be a trailblazer in the study of sexuality.”—Lisa Adkins, University of London

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Greenback Planet: How the Dollar Conquered

the World and Threatened Civilization as We Know It

By H. W. Brands

In Greenback Planet, acclaimed historian H. W. Brands charts the dollar’s astonishing rise to become the world’s principal currency. Telling the story with the verve of a novelist, he recounts key episodes in U.S. monetary history, from the Civil War debate over fiat money (greenbacks) to the recent worldwide financial crisis. Brands explores the dollar’s changing relations to gold and silver and to other currencies and cogently explains how America’s economic might made the dollar the fundamental standard of value in world finance. He vividly describes the 1869 Black Friday attempt to corner the gold market, banker J. P. Morgan’s bailout of the U.S. treasury, the creation of the Federal Reserve, and President Franklin Roosevelt’s handling of the bank panic of 1933. Brands shows how lessons learned (and not learned) in the Great Depression have influenced subsequent U.S. monetary policy, and how the dollar’s dominance helped transform economies in countries ranging from Germany and Japan after World War II to Russia and China today. He concludes with a sobering dissection of the 2008 world financial debacle, which exposed the power–and the enormous risks–of the dollar’s worldwide reign.  The Economy

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The White Masters of the World

From The World and Africa, 1965

By W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois’ Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization (Fletcher)

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Ancient African Nations

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Negro Digest / Black World

Browse all issues

1950        1960        1965        1970        1975        1980        1985        1990        1995        2000 ____ 2005        


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The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan  The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll  Only a Pawn in Their Game

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Thanks America for Slavery

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The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg

The Haitian Declaration of Independence 1804  / January 1, 1804 — The Founding of Haiti 

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posted 1 May 2009