Jim Crow Car
Get out the lunch-box of your dreams
And bite into the sandwich of your heart,
And ride the Jim Crow car until it screams
And, like an atom bomb, bursts apart
A leading voice of the Harlem Renaissance and often called a jazz poet, Langston Hughes, 1902-1967, wrote poetry that explored the state of being black in America. Hughes was only 19 when his work was published and he went on to tell the cultural, social, political and economic story of African Americans in individual poems, poetry collections, plays, novels and short stories. A graduate of Lincoln University, where his classmate was the future Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, and a world traveler, he was proud Black man who chronicled the effects of discrimination on African American lives.
The Monrovia Public Library has a broad collection of the works by and about Langston Hughes. His best known biographer was Arnold Rampersad whose 2 volume Life of Langston Hughes examines not only the life of this champion of African Americans, but also his literary legacy. Hughes writes about his own life and travels, and what it means to be a black man abroad, in I Wonder as I Wander: An Autobiographical Journey.
Hughes’ poetry books include The Panther and the Lash, Black Misery and massive The Collected Poems of Langston Hughes. His plays are represented by Mule Bone, a Comedy of Negro Life, where he collaborated with author Zora Neale Hurston. Finally, The First Book of Jazz shows the breadth of Hughes’ interests.