Home Timeline 1942-1973 Reporters & Writers Perpsectives on Reporting Civil Rights Resources Reporting Civil Rights: The LOA Anthology
Reporters and Writers z x w v t s r p o n m l k j i h g f e d c b a
No photo available Langston  Hughes
Back to
Author Index

Born James Langston Hughes in Joplin, Missouri. Graduated from Central High School in Cleveland in 1920 and attended Columbia University (1921-22), afterward working as sailor on voyages to West Africa and France. Weary Blues, first book, published in 1926; completed college at Lincoln University in Pennsylvania (1926-29), and published second book of poetry, Fine Clothes to the Jew (1927). With Zora Neale Hurston, Wallace Thurman, and Gwendolyn Bennett, started literary magazine Fire!! (1926). Novel Not Without Laughter published 1930. Traveled throughout South and West in 1931 on reading tour, visiting Scottsboro Boys in prison; also went to Soviet Union and China (1933-34). Book of short stories, The Ways of White Folks, appeared in 1934. Plays Mulatto (1935), Little Ham (1936), Joy to My Soul (1937), Don't You Want To Be Free? (1938), and Front Porch (1938) staged; reported on Spanish Civil War for Baltimore Afro-American. Wrote screenplay for film Way Down South (1939). The Big Sea, an autobiography, appeared in 1941 (second volume, I Wonder As I Wander, in 1956). Began writing weekly column, "Here to Yonder," for Chicago Defender in 1942, often featuring Harlem everyman "Simple" (later collected in Simple Speaks His Mind, 1950, Simple Takes a Wife, 1953, The Best of Simple, 1961, and Simple's Uncle Sam, 1965; last column, 1966). In 1943 published pamphlet of civil rights poems, Jim Crow's Last Stand. Beginning in 1945 collaborated with Kurt Weill and Elmer Rice as lyricist for musical Street Scene, performed on Broadway in 1947; published Fields of Wonder (1947), One-Way Ticket (1949), and Montage of a Dream Deferred (1951). Testified before House Un-American Activities Committee in 1953. Inducted into National Institute of Arts and Letters in 1961; beginning in 1962 wrote column for New York Post. Gospel musical Tambourines to Glory opened in New York in 1963. Died in New York. Last poems collected in Ask Your Mama (1961) and The Panther and the Lash (1967).