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Langston Hughes

Langston Hughes was born on February 1, 1902. He accomplished many things during his life, including becoming a poet, social activist, novelist, playwright, and columnist. His work was influential in the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s.

His The Negro Speaks of Rivers was inspired by a train ride. This piece of literature would be featured by W.E.B. Dubois’ Crisis Magazine and in Literary Digest. His poem The Weary Blues won first prize in Opportunity magazine literary completion in 1925. This poem also won him a scholarship to Lincoln University.

Langston Hughes was a world traveler. He visited Africa, Holland, France, Italy, Haiti, Cuba, The Soviet Union, and Asia. He also lived all over North America. He lived in Missouri, Kansas, Illinois, and Ohio in the US. He also lived in Mexico.

He is an accomplished author. He wrote two autobiographies, two novels, nine children’s books, 16 volumes of poetry, three short story collections, at least 20 plays, and much more. He wrote until his passing in 1967.

This video does a great job reviewing facts about Langston Hughes. I recommend using this video in conjunction with reading one of his stories. There are many to choose from. He wrote several books and poetry for children. I’m sure you’re school library has at least one book by Langston Hughes, if you don’t have one in your personal collection. After reading together, you could have students write in a style similar to what you read. For older kids, you could have students find, read, and summarise one of Hughes’s literary works. This is a great way to celebrate Langston Hughes for Black History Month or anytime during the year.

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