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Friday, September 7, 2012

Tony Lindsay Presents... "A Look at Langston Hughes"

There are not many writers whose careers span literary movements. James Mercer Langston Hughes was a writer whose career did span literary movements including the two major African American movements. It can be argued that since Panther and the Lash was published posthumously (1967) he was not a contributor to the Blacks Arts Movement, but it cannot be argued that his influence on the writers of that period was substantial. Langston Hughes’ writing had the theme of Black is Beautiful and Black Pride before the phrases were coined.

                                    Me and My Mule

My old mule,
He’s gota a grin on his face.
He’s been a mule so long
He’s forgotten about his race.

I’m like that old mule-
Black – and don’t give a damn!
You got to take me
Like I am.

Hughes’ first work, “The Negro Speaks of Rivers”, was published in The Crisis magazine. He was 19 years old and one of the early contributors to the Harlem Renaissance. Langston Hughes loved being Black and he loved Black people. He took great pride in being part of the Harlem Renaissance and expressed his sadness when the spirit of the period ended.

What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up
like a raison in the sun?
Or fester like a sore-
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over-
Like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?

The works of Langston Hughes, an African American poet, have and will continue to influence world literature.

Tony Lindsay is an award-winning author and adjunct professor at Chicago State University. His new book ONE DEAD DOCTOR was selected as one of Conversations' 25 Summer Reads of 2012 and is available now on Tony can be reached at or on Facebook at

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