On this day American writer and important figure of the Harlem Renaissance, Langston Hughes, died.
Born James Mercer Langston Hughes on February 1, 1902, to school teacher Carrie (Caroline) Mercer Langston and James Nathaniel Hughes. After his parents divorced, he was raised by his mother and grandmother.
Hughes found his passion for writing as a young boy in school. The summer after his high school graduation, his poem “The Negro Speaks of Rivers” was published in The Crisis in 1921. He later attended college at Columbia University in New York from 1921-1922 and eventually earned a bachelor’s degree from Lincoln University.
Hughes helped launch the influential magazine Fire!!, and published a second collection of poetry, Fine Clothes to the Jew (1927), which was criticized by some for its title. He continued to write poetry until his death. His literary work The Panther and the Lash was published posthumously in 1967, it reflected and engaged with the Black Power movement and, specifically, the Black Panther Party.