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Langston Hughes - Muses & The Beau Monde

James Mercer Langston Hughes, born 1 February 1901, was an American poet, social activist, novelist, playwright, and columnist from Joplin, Missouri. He moved to New York City as a young man, where he made his career. One of the earliest innovators of the then-new literary art form called jazz poetry, Hughes is best known as a leader of the Harlem Renaissance.

As much has been written about Langston Hughes I have compiled a collection of dazzling documentaries, quintessential quotes and iconic interviews and lectures.



We start with Langston Hughes reading "The Weary Blues" in 1958, one of the few surviving films of Hughes.


"Let the rain kiss you. Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops. Let the rain sing you a lullaby".

- Langston Hughes


Below is Langston Hughes Speaking at UCLA 16 February 1967. The intro is rather long so you may want to skip ahead to when Hughes starts speaking at 3:40.



"Perhaps a mission of an artist in to interpret beauty to people - the beauty within themselves."

- Langton Hughes


Below is a 2002 documentary "Hughes Dream Harlem".


Dream Variations

by Langton Hughes

To fling my arms wide

In some place of the sun,

To whirl and to dance

Till the white day is done.

Then rest at cool evening

Beneath a tall tree

While night comes on gently,     

Dark like me—

That is my dream!

To fling my arms wide

In the face of the sun,

Dance! Whirl! Whirl!

Till the quick day is done.

Rest at pale evening . . .

A tall, slim tree . . .

Night coming tenderly     

Black like me.



Reading Recommendations & Content Considerations

of Volume I: 1902-1941 I, Too Sing American

Langston Hughes Arnold Rampersad


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