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James Langston Hughes was born February 1 1902 in Joplin Missouri to parents James Nathaniel and Carrie Mercer He attended Columbia University and was a member of numerous organizations including the Authors Guild and Omega Psi Phi His career as a poet novelist short story writer playwright song lyricist radio writer translator childrens book author and lecturer included 35 published plays 1 screenplay 2 operas 3 songs and numerous amounts of poetry prose and other literature Langston Hughes was first recognized as an important literary figure during the 1920s a period known as the Harlem Renaissance because of the number of emerging black writers However much of Hughess early work was roundly citied by many black intellectuals for portraying what they thought to be an unattractive view of black life Nevertheless Hughes more than any other black poet or writer recorded faithfully the nuances of black life and its frustrations Hughes brought a varied and colorful background to his writing and reached many people through his fictional character Jesse B SempleIt was Hughess belief in humanity and his hope for a world in which people could sanely and with understanding live together that led to his decline in popularity in the racially turbulent latter years of his life He died in 1967 of congestive heart failure
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