Langston Hughes: He Spoke of Rivers, No. 2, 1968
The multitalented Arna Bontemps was a poet, novelist, essayist, and dramatist as well as a teacher and librarian. He had been a member of the Harlem Renaissance and a close friend of Langston Hughes for many years.
Even a dependable memory sometimes plays tricks, and often enough I have had to call mine to task. This has never been true, I hasten to add, when the subject was the life and works of Langston Hughes. Even his adolescent poems were unforgettable. His personal history, as one picked it up from fragments in newspapers and magazines, had begun to read like a legend long before he finished college.
I seem to be the member of the Harlem literary group of the twenties elected to hold in trust a certain legacy of recollections, and the first of these is that he was our bellwether in that early dawn. The first poems by Langston that I read appeared in the Crisis in the summer of 1924. That magazine had been publishing articles, stories and poems by him for several years, but being away at a college that did not subscribe to such periodicals, immersed in the reading of the