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Langston Hughes, one of America's greatest writers, was an innovator of jazz poetry and a leader of the Harlem Renaissance whose poems and plays resonate widely today. Accessible, personal, and inspirational, Hughes’s poems portray the African American community in struggle in the context of a turbulent modern United States and a rising black freedom movement. This indispensable volume of letters between Hughes and four leftist confidants sheds vivid light on his life and politics. Letters from Langston begins in 1930 and ends shortly before his death in 1967, providing a window into a unique, self-created world where Hughes lived at ease. This distinctive volume collects the stories of Hughes and his friends in an era of uncertainty and reveals their visions of an idealized world—one without hunger, war, racism, and class oppression.
"Tidwell and Williams analyze the causal relationships in her interactions with Langston and other family members through the use of psychiatrist Murray Bowen's Family Systems Theory (FST). . . . The editors have grouped the 250 letters chronologically into four sections, each preceded by a brief contextual introduction" --
Langston Hughes is widely remembered as a celebrated star of the Harlem Renaissance -- a writer whose bluesy, lyrical poems and novels still have broad appeal. What's less well known about Hughes is that for much of his life he maintained a friendship with Carl Van Vechten, a flamboyant white critic, writer, and photographer whose ardent support of black artists was peerless. Despite their differences — Van Vechten was forty-four to Hughes twenty-two when they met–Hughes’ and Van Vechten’s shared interest in black culture lead to a deeply-felt, if unconventional friendship that would span some forty years. Between them they knew everyone — from Zora Neale Hurston to Richard Wright, and their letters, lovingly and expertly collected here for the first time, are filled with gossip about the antics of the great and the forgotten, as well as with talk that ranged from race relations to blues lyrics to the nightspots of Harlem, which they both loved to prowl. It’s a correspondence that, as Emily Bernard notes in her introduction, provides “an unusual record of entertainment, politics, and culture as seen through the eyes of two fascinating and irreverent men. From the Trade Paperback edition.
"Tells the story of how a cohort of ethnic minority students earned degrees from Columbia University's School of Architecture. Follows two university units that steered the school toward an emancipatory approach to education. Assesses the triumphs and subsequent unraveling of an experiment to achieve racial justice in the school and in the nearby Harlem community. Informs contemporary struggles for racial and economic equality"--
This is the first comprehensive selection from the correspondence of the iconic and beloved Langston Hughes. It offers a life in letters that showcases his many struggles as well as his memorable achievements. Arranged by decade and linked by expert commentary, the volume guides us through Hughes’s journey in all its aspects: personal, political, practical, and—above all—literary. His letters range from those written to family members, notably his father (who opposed Langston’s literary ambitions), and to friends, fellow artists, critics, and readers who sought him out by mail. These figures include personalities such as Carl Van Vechten, Blanche Knopf, Zora Neale Hurston, Arna Bontemps, Vachel Lindsay, Ezra Pound, Richard Wright, Kurt Weill, Carl Sandburg, Gwendolyn Brooks, James Baldwin, Martin Luther King, Jr., Alice Walker, Amiri Baraka, and Muhammad Ali. The letters tell the story of a determined poet precociously finding his mature voice; struggling to realize his literary goals in an environment generally hostile to blacks; reaching out bravely to the young and challenging them to aspire beyond the bonds of segregation; using his artistic prestige to serve the disenfranchised and the cause of social justice; irrepressibly laughing at the world despite its quirks and humiliations. Venturing bravely on what he called the “big sea” of life, Hughes made his way forward always aware that his only hope of self-fulfillment and a sense of personal integrity lay in diligently pursuing his literary vocation. Hughes’s voice in these pages, enhanced by photographs and quotations from his poetry, allows us to know him intimately and gives us an unusually rich picture of this generous, visionary, gratifyingly good man who was also a genius of modern American letters. From the Hardcover edition.
Born in 1901, Louise Thompson Patterson was a leading and transformative figure in radical African American politics. Throughout most of the twentieth century she embodied a dedicated resistance to racial, economic, and gender exploitation. In this, the first biography of Patterson, Keith Gilyard tells her compelling story, from her childhood on the West Coast, where she suffered isolation and persecution, to her participation in the Harlem Renaissance and beyond. In the 1930s and 1940s she became central, along with Paul Robeson, to the labor movement, and later, in the 1950s, she steered proto-black-feminist activities. Patterson was also crucial to the efforts in the 1970s to free political prisoners, most notably Angela Davis. In the 1980s and 1990s she continued to work as a progressive activist and public intellectual. To read her story is to witness the courage, sacrifice, vision, and discipline of someone who spent decades working to achieve justice and liberation for all.
Madelyn Kubin was a 70-year-old Kansas farm wife. She appeared to be fragile because of her thinning white hair, macular degeneration, osteoporosis, congestive heart failure, and severe hearing loss. But when her husband Quentin suffered a debilitating stroke, she was forced to summon all of her physical, emotional, and spiritual strengths in order to care for him at home. Madelyn managed her isolation, loneliness, and stress by going to her computer, disengaging her emotional monitor, and writing letters to her daughter Elaine. Madelyn’s story of faith, courage, and love is told through her unflinchingly honest and surprisingly funny letters written in real time over the course of six-and-a-half years. Although she prayed every day that she would be a willing channel for God’s love and compassion, there were plenty of days she felt like telling God to go find himself another servant. Madelyn wrote unabashedly about her anger, guilt, depression, and grief. When Quentin displayed dementia-related inappropriate sexual behavior, Madelyn eventually learned how to handle it with grace and humor. She was an example of how it is possible, even in the very worst end-of-life situations, to experience mental and spiritual growth.

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