Langston Hughes was an American poet, social activist, novelist, playwright, and columnist from Joplin, Missouri. He was born on February 1, 1901 and passed away on May 22, 196 due to complications from prostate cancer. His life was marked by a deep sense of racial pride instilled in him by his grandmother Mary Langston, and he is remembered for his contributions to the Harlem Renaissance movement. He was an innovator of jazz poetry, imitating the flow and rhythm of jazz music, and is also known for his travels around the world to highlight the human condition and inequality.
Langston Hughes' professional career spanned from the 1920s to the 1960s, making him one of the best-known African-American writers of the 20th century. He was a black gay icon according to British filmmaker Isaac Julien in Looking for Langston (198). In 1931, Prentiss Taylor and Langston Hughes created Golden Stair Press which published portfolios and books with works of art by Prentiss Taylor and texts by Langston Hughes. The New York City Preservation Commission has granted his residence at number 20 East 127th Street in Harlem a historic site, and East 127th Street has been renamed Langston Hughes Place.
The Beinecke Library of Rare Books and Manuscripts at Yale University contains the Langston Hughes documents (1862-1980) and the Langston Hughes Collection (1924-196), which contain letters, manuscripts, personal items, photographs, clippings, works of art and objects that document Hughes's life. Langston Hughes is remembered as the people's poet for his portrayals of black culture and everyday life. He could have attended engineering school to please his father but decided that this was not his path in life and abandoned it after a year. His legacy lives on through his works which continue to inspire people all over the world.