Langston Hughes, one of America’s greatest writers, was an innovator of jazz poetry and a leader of the Harlem Renaissance whose poems and plays resonate widely today. Accessible, personal, and inspirational, Hughes’s poems portray the African American community in struggle in the context of a turbulent modern United States and a rising black freedom movement. This indispensable volume of letters between Hughes and four leftist confidants sheds vivid light on his life and politics.
Letters from Langston begins in 1930 and ends shortly before his death in 1967, providing a window into a unique, self-created world where Hughes lived at ease. This distinctive volume collects the stories of Hughes and his friends in an era of uncertainty and reveals their visions of an idealized world—one without hunger, war, racism, and class oppression.
Join us for a talk with editor MaryLouise Patterson, in conversation with Ruth Wilson Gilmore for a discussion on the life and legacy of Langston Hughes and the revolutionary spirit of the Harlem Renaissance.
If joining in-person, please be prepared to show proof of vaccination and ID.
MaryLouise Patterson is the co-editor, along with Evelyn Louise Crawford, of Letters from Langston: from the Harlem Renaissance to the Red Scare and Beyond. Patterson is an activist and doctor trained in the former Soviet Union at the Patrice Lumumba Friendship University in Moscow. She works with Physicians for a National Health Program and is a member of the IFCO/Pastors for Peace medical committee for the Latin American Medical School (ELAM) in Havana, Cuba. Mary Louise is also the daughter of militant Communist Party USA members William L. Patterson and Louise Thompson Patterson.
Ruth Wilson Gilmore is a professor of Earth & Environmental Sciences, and American Studies, and the director of the Center for Place, Culture, and Politics, and cofounder of many grassroots institutions, including California Prison Moratorium Project, Critical Resistance, and the Central California Environmental Justice Network. Gilmore has authored many books, including Golden Gulag: Prisons, Surplus, Crisis, and Opposition in Globalizing California, and Abolition Geography: Essays Toward Liberation.
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