The Life of Langston Hughes - Vol. 2

By Arnold Rampersad | Go to book overview

16

DO NOTHING TILL YOU
HEAR FROM ME
1966 to 1967

... and here is
old Picasso and the dove
and dreams as fragile
as pottery with dove
in white on clay
dark brown as
earth is brown
from our old
battle ground ...

"The Dove," 1962

AFTER A triumphant month in Dakar, Langston left Senegal to begin his grand tour of Africa for the U. S. State Department. Like the United States, Africa was changing at a swift, disturbing pace. To his disappointment, he found Lagos, Nigeria, his first stop, gripped by a crime wave of unprecedented violence and variety. "Lagos," he wrote home in awe, "is more like the old Chicago of gangster days than ever." Worse, Nigeria itself was in the grasp of a military dictatorship following a coup in mid-January by army officers that had led to several deaths, the overthrow of his friend Benjamin Azikiwe as Governor General, and the eventual start of the Biafran civil war. "The swift change," his protegé Sunday Osuya, himself an Ibo, had informed him illogically about the coup, "is believed to be the beginning of democracy in Nigeria. "

In a sour epilogue to the independence movement that had transformed the former European colonies into a growing array of new black nations, coups d'état now seemed to threaten the dream of democratic progress for Africa. In Ghana later that year would come the most decisive blow—the overthrow of the most ambitious leader of the African independence movement, Kwame Nkrumah. Such events did not touch Langston's faith in the African peoples. Unwilling to sit in moral judgment of so vast a group of people, he also understood that behind the collapse of many black governments, including the

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The Life of Langston Hughes - Vol. 2
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • The Life of Langston Hughes - I Dream a World *
  • Contents *
  • 1 - Still Here 1941 3
  • 2 - Jim Crow''s Last Stand 1941 To 1943 32
  • 3 - Simple Speaks His Mind 1943 To 1944 61
  • 4 - Third Degree 1944 To 1945 88
  • 5 - Street Scene 1945 To 1947 108
  • 6 - Heart on the Wall 1947 To 1948 128
  • 7 - On Solid Ground 1948 To 1950 146
  • 8 - In Warm Manure 1951 To 1953 189
  • 9 - Out from under 1953 To 1956 223
  • 10 - Making Hay 1957 To 1958 263
  • 11 - You Are the World 1958 To 1960 288
  • 12 - Ask Your Mama! 1960 To 1961 314
  • 13 - In Gospel Glory 1961 To 1963 341
  • 14 - Blues for Mister Backlash 1963 To 1965 364
  • 15 - Final Call 1965 To 1966 386
  • 16 - Do Nothing till You Hear from Me 1966 To 1967 404
  • Afterword 426
  • Abbreviations 436
  • Notes 437
  • Acknowledgments 493
  • Index 499
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