Before James Langston Mercer Hughes shortened his name to Langston Hughes, he was a young high school student who wrote for his Cleveland school newspaper and edited the school’s yearbook. His early writing experience would later lead him to become a pioneer in the Harlem Renaissance in the 1920s.
His first poem, “The Negro Speaks of Rivers,” was published in the NAACP’s publication The Crisis. Hughes's first book of poetry, The Weary Blues, was published in 1926. For the 40 years to follow, Hughes would go on to write several literary works, including Not Without Laughter, The Ways of White Folks, and his two-book autobiography, The Big Sea and I Wonder as I Wander. Throughout his career, he received praise and recognition for his contributions to the literary world.
Hughes died in 1967.
In 2002, 100 years after Hughes's birth, the U.S. postal service added Langston Hughes to their Black Heritage series of postage stamps.
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