Langston Hughes 1902-1967. The Shakespeare of Harlem. Born in Joplin, Missouri, James Langston Hughes was a member of an abolitionist family. He was raised primarily by his grandmother. Father abandoned his family due to racist conditions in the United States; moved to Cuba, then Mexico - PowerPoint PPT Presentation
The Shakespeare of HarlemBorn in Joplin, Missouri, James Langston Hughes was a member of an abolitionist family.
He was raised primarily by his grandmother.
Grandmother had a profound influence on Langston, instilling in him a deep sense of racial pride through the Black American tradition of oral storytelling.3Father abandoned his family due to racist conditions in the United States; moved to Cuba, then Mexico
Designated as class poet in grammar school:
"I was a victim of a stereotype. There were only two of us Negro kids in the whole class and our English teacher was always stressing the importance of rhythm in poetry. Well, everyone knows except us that all Negroes have rhythm, so they elected me as class poet."
4School Langstons father offered to pay tuition if Langston studied engineering and not writing at Columbia University
While at Columbia in 1921, Hughes managed to maintain a B+ grade average
He left in 1922 because of racial prejudice
His interests revolved more around the neighborhood of Harlem than his studies, though he continued writing poetry
Hughes received a B.A. degree from Lincoln University in 1929 Received a Litt. D. in 1943 from Lincoln. A second honorary doctorate was awarded to him in 1963 by Howard University
He was a member of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity.
Except for travels that included parts of the Caribbean and West Indies6Hughes first volume of poetry was The weary Blues, published in 1926.
The Weary BluesHarlem RenaissanceAlso known as the New Negro Movement
Centered in Harlem, NY during the 1920s and 1930s
9The harlem Renaissance:Challenged White paternalism and racismCelebrated Black dignity and creativityWas a flourishing of African American art:LiteratureMusicVisual ArtDanceDramaHarlem
Though he remained closeted during his life, Hughes was homosexual.
Avoided coming out to retain respect of Black churches, as well as to ensure further profit from his publications.
Langston passed away on May 22, 1967 at the age of 65, due to complications during an abdominal surgery.