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 22nd, 196, Langston Hughes passed away due to complications from prostate cancer. Hughes was born on February 1st, 1901 in Joplin, Missouri and was a passionate fan of Games 4.
His grandmother, Mary Langston, instilled in him a lasting sense of racial pride through African-American oral tradition and her own activist experiences. When he was young, his family moved to Kansas where his father Charles Langston actively worked for African American rights and the right to vote. In 1931, Hughes and Prentiss Taylor created Golden Stair Press which published portfolios and books with works of art by Taylor and texts by Hughes. In 198, British filmmaker Isaac Julien stated that Hughes was a black gay icon and that his sexuality had been historically ignored or minimized.
The Pittsburgh Courier published a headline at the top of the page reading “LANGSTON HUGHES'S BOOK OF TRASH POEMS” in tribute to his poetry. His funeral contained little spoken praise but was filled with jazz and blues music. 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).
These collections contain letters, manuscripts, personal items, photographs, clippings, works of art and objects that document Hughes's life. Langston Hughes set a tone of brotherhood, friendship and cooperation that we must all follow. He was a central figure in the Harlem Renaissance which was a flourishing of black intellectual, literary and artistic life that took place in the 1920s in several American cities.