Perhaps more than any other writer, Langston Hughes made the white America of the 1920's and '30s aware of the black culture thriving in its midst. Like his most famous poems, Hughes's stories are messages from that other America, sharply etched vignettes of its daily life, cruelly accurate portrayals of black people colliding - sometimes humorously, more often tragically - with whites. Here is the ailing black musician who comes home from Europe to die in his small town - only to die more quickly and brutally than he had imagined. Here are the wealthy bohemians who collect Negroes like so many objets d'art...the moonlighting student who becomes the reluctant confidante of a boozy white Don Jaun... the elegant charlatan who peddles "real primitive jazz out of Africa" as a nostrum to the spiritually starved elite. Filled with mordant wit and human detail, The Ways of White Folks is unmistakably the work of a great poet who was also a shrewd and compelling storyteller.
In these acrid and poignant stories, Hughes depicted black people colliding--sometimes humorously, more often tragically--with whites in the 1920s and '30s.
Langston Hughes (19021967) was born in Joplin, Missouri. Often regarded as "the poet laureate of Harlem," Hughes was a cental figure in the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s. He earned his bachelor's from Lincoln University in Pennsylvania, where he was later presented with an honorary Doctorate of Letters. Over the course of his life, Hughes was also awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Rosenwald Fellowship, and an American Academy of Arts and Letters grant.Known for his insightful, colorful portayals of black life in America from the 1920s to the 1960s, Hughes published more than 35 books of poetry, fiction, short stories, children's poetry, musicals, operas, autobiography, scripts, and essays. He was a devoted fan of jazz and blues, fusing the two genres with traditional verse in his first two books, The Weary Blues and Fine Clothes to the Jew. He was also well known for his creation of the fictional character Jess B. Semple, nicknamed Simple, who satrized racial injustices.Through his work condeming racism and celebrating African-American culture, Langston Hughes becaomse one of the most influential and esteemed writers of the twentieth century.