illustration ©2011 Afua Richardson



James Langston Hughes (1902 – 1967) was a poet, novelist, playwright, columnist and social activist. He was born in Missouri, and lived briefly in Mexico, France and England. Following his graduatuion from Lincoln University in Pennsylvania in 1929, he moved to Harlem, in New York City, which became his primary home for the remainder of his life. He was one of the leaders of the Harlem Renaissance, a cultural movement that writer James Weldon Johnson referred to as “the flowering of Negro literature.” Hughes was also noted for his involvement in the world of jazz, which had a strong influence on his writing. His first book of poetry, The Weary Blues, was published in 1926. In 1930 his first novel, Not Without Laughter, won the Harmon Gold Medal for Literature. His collection of short stories, The Ways of White Folks (1934) led to his receiving a Guggenheim Fellowship. In addition to his large body of poetry, Hughes wrote eleven plays and countless works of prose, including the well-known “Simple” books, collecting his twenty years of newspaper columns for the Chicago Defender.

African-American Classics:
Graphic Classics Volume 22

144 pages, color, $15