Langston Hughes was born in Joplin, Missouri, in 1902. By the time he enrolled in Columbia University he had already launched his literary career with his poem "The Negro Speaks of Rivers," published in Crisis in 1921. Often regarded as "the poet laureate of Harlem," Hughes was a cental figure in the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s. Known for his insightful, colorful portayals of black life in America from the 1920s to the 1960s, Hughes published more than thirty-five books of poetry, fiction, short stories, children's poetry, musicals, operans, autobiography, scripts, and essays.
Throughout hs life Hughes was a devoted fan of black music, and he fushed together jazz and blues 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. In 1929, Hughes earned his B.A. from Lincoln University in Pennsylvania, where he was later presented with an honorary Litt.D. 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. Hughes died in 1967.
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.