A Historical Guide to Langston Hughes

By Steven C. Tracy | Go to book overview
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Langston Hughes, 1902–1967
A Brief Biography
R. Baxter Miller

As a now somewhat legendary name for so many readers of varying persuasions (he was more popular and less revered in his own century), Langston Hughes was perhaps the most wide-ranging and persistent black American writer in the twentieth century. From the Harlem Renaissance of the early twenties, to the Black Arts reorientations of the sixties, his short stories, novels, dramas, translations, and seminal anthologies of the works of others at home and abroad helped unify peoples in the African Diaspora. He helped nurture, in other words, so profoundly the generations after him. His early writing was an innovative complement to the talent of his contemporaries, including the Keatsian verse of Countee Cullen, the avantgarde and even prophetic painting of Aaron Douglas, and the musical flamboyance of Josephine Baker. In his late twenties and early thirties, he helped inspire the writers Margaret Walker and Gwendolyn Brooks. Later, he encouraged writers of a third generation, including Mari Evans and Alice Walker. All the while, he helped indirectly open the doors of publishing to them and to others of various races; he helped charm the American audience to the future of ethnic equality and pluralism. In many ways, he crafted, better perhaps than any poet since Walt Whitman, whom he celebrated and eventually


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A Historical Guide to Langston Hughes


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