Langston Hughes: Jazz Poet, Social Activist

Portrayed by Keith Henley

Langston Hughes was a poet who utilized the American language, music, slang and religious views to educate the world about African American lifestyles during the Harlem Renaissance. His jazz poetry depicted the “low-life”, or the real life experiences of blacks in the lower social-economic strata. His criticisms focused on the divisions, and prejudices, based on skin color within the black community.

Henley’s portrayal deals with the issue of how to be oneself, and encourages all to joy in the knowledge that “I too have a song to sing” and to ask the question “why not me?”