01 February 2013

28 Days of Black History: Langston Hughes

Day 1: Langston Hughes
Jamers Mercer Langston Hughes was born Feburary 1, 1902 in Joplin, Missouri. Hughes was a poet, social activist, novelist, playwright and a columnist and one of the early innovators of what is called Jazz Poetry. Hugehes was best known for his work during the Harlem Renaissance or When the Negro Was in Vogue which started around 1919 and ended in the mid 1930's.

Hughes was first published in The Crisis (the official magazine of the NAACP) in 1921.

"The Negro Speaks of Rivers"

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 bathed in the Euphrates when dawns were young.
I built my hut near the Congo and it lulled me to sleep.
I looked upon the Nile and raised the pyramids above it.
I heard the singing of the Mississippi when Abe Lincoln
   went down to New Orleans, and I've seen its muddy
    bosom turn all golden in the sunset.

I've know rivers:
Ancient, dusky rivers.

My soul has grown deep like the rivers.

Hughes died May 22, 1967 after complications from 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 at the Arthur Schomberg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem, NY in the entrance to the auditorium that bears his name.

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