Harlem Renaissance leader, poet, activist, novelist and also playwright Langston Hughes died May 22, 1967. We’re psychic Hughes with a look in ~ 10 vital facts around his life and career.

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1. Born Feb. 1, 1902, in Joplin, Missouri, Hughes was greatly raised by his grandmother in Lawrence, Kansas, ~ his parental separated. Mar Patterson Langston instilled in she grandson a sense of gyeongju pride and a love for activism.

2. Hughes gone into Columbia college and, at his father’s insistence, studied engineering instead of writing. Hughes eventually didn’t earn a degree from Columbia—after simply a year, that left the university, citing gyeongju prejudice there—but if in new York the did learn something the would possibly serve him also better: he found Harlem.


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3. Though Columbia wasn’t appropriate for Hughes, that did earn a bachelor’s degree. after ~ spending numerous years in Europe, Hughes enrolled in the historically black color Lincoln University, wherein he completed his education. Amongst his classmates was future supreme Court justice Thurgood Marshall.

4. After college, Hughes reverted to new York, wherein he would stay a resides of Harlem for most of his life. That became part of the vivid community of black artists that drove the Harlem Renaissance—his contemporaries contained Zora Neale Hurston, Countee Cullen, Wallace Thurman, and more.

5. Hughes found the idea the Communism exciting as an different to segregation. despite his attention led him to visit the Soviet Union and also travel transparent the country, he never ever officially join the Communist Party. This conserved him during the 1950s, when he to be called prior to Senator Joseph McCarthy’s Senate permanent Subcommittee on investigate to answer to allegations of Communism. His attention wasn’t considered deep enough for any serious consequences.


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6. Despite he had actually published a number of Socialist and also otherwise political city in his younger years, the scare of McCarthyism resulted in Hughes distancing himself from politics. The poems of his later life to be lyric fairly than political.

7. Despite he may be best known as a poet, Hughes to be prolific in a wide selection of writing styles. In enhancement to 15 books of poetry, he published a variety of novels and short story collections, nonfiction publications such together A Pictorial history of the negro in America, plays, children books, and more. He edited the literary magazine Common Ground, co-wrote the screenplay for Way under South, and wrote two autobiographies.

8. Hughes to be given countless awards and also honors—a Guggenheim Fellowship that allowed him to travel to Spain and also the Soviet Union, the Anisfield-Wolf publication Award, the NAACP’s Spingarn Medal because that distinguished success by an afri American. He was awarded honorary levels by Lincoln University, Howard University, and also Western reserve University. After his death, the City university of new York started awarding an yearly Langston Hughes Medal to an influential and engaging black color writer.

9. Hughes was 65 when he died May 22, 1967, of symptom after surgical treatment for prostate cancer. pan wishing to visit his last resting place should head, that course, come Harlem, wherein his ashes space interred at the Arthur Schomburg center for research study in black Culture.

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10. One of Hughes’s best-known poems, “The negro Speaks that Rivers,” to be published when Hughes was still in his teens. Its famous line, “My soul has actually grown deep favor the rivers,” was supplied as his epitaph.

I’ve known rivers:I’ve known rivers ancient as the world and also older than the flow of human blood in human veins.My soul has actually grown deep favor the rivers.I bathed in the Euphrates when dawns were young.I constructed my hut near the Congo and also it lull me come sleep.I looked top top the Nile and raised the pyramids over it.I heard the to sing of the Mississippi as soon as Abe Lincoln went down to new Orleans, and I’ve seen its muddy bosom turn all golden in the sunset.I’ve known rivers:Ancient, dusky rivers.My soul has actually grown deep like the rivers.