James Mercer Langston Hughes was an American poet, social activist, novelist, playwright, and columnist from Joplin, Missouri. He was an early innovator of the literary art form called jazz poetry and is best known as the leader of the Harlem Renaissance. On May 22, 1967, Hughes passed away due to complications from prostate cancer. His funeral was a tribute to his poetry, filled with jazz and blues music.Hughes was born in 1901 in Joplin, Missouri, although he himself stated in his autobiography that he was born in 1902.His grandmother, Mary Langston, instilled in him a lasting sense of racial pride through African-American oral tradition and based on the activist experiences of her generation.
After his marriage, Charles Langston moved with his family to Kansas where he actively worked as an educator and activist for the right to vote and the rights of African Americans.One of the main thinkers and authors of that period was Langston Hughes (1902-1967), a prolific writer of poetry, novels, short stories, plays, children's stories, essays and lyrics for operas and musicals. He wrote about what it was like to be a black man in the United States for more than 35 years. The Pittsburgh Courier published a great headline at the top of the page: LANGSTON HUGHES'S BOOK OF TRASH POEMS. 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.In addition to being a talented writer, James Mercer Langston Hughes was a social activist who worked hard to inculcate racial pride in the African-American community.
In Looking for Langston (1989), British filmmaker Isaac Julien stated that he was a black gay icon. Julien thought that Hughes' sexuality had been historically ignored or minimized.The Beinecke Library of Rare Books and Manuscripts at Yale University contains the Langston Hughes documents (1862-1980) and the Langston Hughes Collection (1924-1967), which contain letters, manuscripts, personal items, photographs, clippings, works of art and objects that document Hughes's life.In a loving reminder of his talent and influence, let's greet the magnificent poet Langston Hughes on the 50th anniversary of his death. NEW YORK (AP) — James Langston Hughes, the black poet, author, playwright and creator of the philosophical character Simple, died in a hospital here Monday night.