Chapter

Introduction

W. Jason Miller

in Langston Hughes and American Lynching Culture

Published by University Press of Florida

Published in print January 2011 | ISBN: 9780813035338
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780813038704 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5744/florida/9780813035338.003.0001
Introduction

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Langston Hughes never lived in an America where the very real threat of lynching did not exist. Lynching had a direct impact on Hughes's life and creative works. It reflects from Huges' speeches that his earliest engagement with lynching came through reading about it as a child. These fears accompanied him during his first trip by train through the South when he was a teenager. Moreover, he repeatedly responded to lynching throughout his creative works for the remainder of his life. Revisiting his published poems reveals an important current in American cultural history. Langston Hughes engaged in a lifelong national campaign against American lynching culture. In fact, Hughes addressed, referenced, responded, or alluded to lynching in nearly three dozen different poems. This book documents Hughes's campaign as a context for reading seven of his most important poetic responses to lynching, which reveal the complex interplay between culture, politics, and art.

Keywords: Langston Hughes; America; lynching; American cultural history; national campaign; lynching culture

Chapter.  6602 words. 

Subjects: Literature

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