Writer Langston Hughes believed that art should be accessible to all. He used his poetic voice to speak to all Americans about racial, political, and economic justice. Biographer Arnold Rampersad wrote of Hughes, “His art was firmly rooted in race pride and race feeling, even as he cherished his freedom as an artist…” Use the following resources to introduce students to Hughes’ life and works, and to inspire students to use poetry and art as a means to both explore their heritage and call for public attention to larger issues within their communities.
- See Teaching Multicultural Literature, workshop 6, “Historical and Cultural Context – Langston Hughes and Christopher Moore.” Stanlee Brimberg’s 7th graders learn about the experiences of African slaves in early New York, examine texts by Hughes, and create postage stamps to commemorate the African Burial Ground Memorial.
- View the hour-long video on Langston Hughes in Voices & Visions. Interviews, music, and dance performances convey his work and influence, discussed by James Baldwin and biographer Arnold Rampersad.
- Hughes is a featured poet in the video for American Passages, unit 10, “Rhythms in Poetry.” Discover more about the author’s life and work and find teaching tips and questions for classroom study of Hughes’ poetry.