Celebrating Langston Hughes and a Personal Connection

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Wednesday is the 110th birthday of Harlem Renaissance author and social activist Langston Hughes. Celebrated around the world for his emotionally charged yet economic use of language, one of the lesser-known aspects of Hughes' legacy is that of lyricist. In a collaboration with the African-American classical composer William Grant Still - and grandfather of The Takeaway's own Celeste Headlee - Hughes created an opera based on the life of Haitian revolution leader Jean-Jacques Dessalines titled "Troubled Island."

Terrance McKnight is weekday evening host on WQXR, New York Public Radio's classical music station.

He will also host "I, Too, Sing America: Music in the Life of Langston Hughes," which premieres tonight at 9 pm Eastern on WQXR. The program tells the story of Hughes’ life in music, including the dramatic tale of his collaboration with William Grant Still.

Langston Hughes reads his poem "One-Way Ticket"

An excerpt from 'Troubled Water'

Comments [1]

Mike from Federal Way, WA

HUGE fan of Langston Hughes.

Two things I think this story missed (or overlooked):

1) His influence on the late Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall
(mentioned in the one man play - Lawrence Fishburne - "Thurgood" aka "Thoroughgood")

2) Has the question been definitively answered as to whether or not he was gay?

Feb. 01 2012 10:58 AM

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