HUGHES, LANGSTON One of the major American writers of the twentieth century, Langston Hughes (1902-67) is often referred to as the "poet laureate" of black Americans. As a poet, Hughes published a number of collections of verse, including The Weary Blues (1926), The Dream Keeper (1932), Shakespeare in Harlem (1942), Fields of Wonder (1947) and One Way Ticket (1947).
Hughes' talent as a poet was matched only by his literary versatility. He was a novelist, playwright, historian, song lyricist, librettist and newspaper columnist. His first novel, Not Without Laughter, was published during his senior year at Lincoln University in 1930. Among his many accounts of black history and contemporary social commentary are Fight for Freedom: The Story of the NAACP (1962) and Black Magic: A Pictorial History of the Negro in American Entertainment (1967). His plays included the Broadway hits Mulatto (1935) and Black Nativity (1961). Another drama, Tambourines to Glory (1963), was based on his 1958 novel of the same name. In addition, Hughes published two volumes of a planned autobiographical trilogy before he died in 1967.