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Langston Hughes and American Lynching Culture$
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W. Jason Miller

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780813035338

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813035338.001.0001

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The Scottsboro Case and World War II America

The Scottsboro Case and World War II America

Poetic Anger

(p.41) 2 The Scottsboro Case and World War II America
Langston Hughes and American Lynching Culture

W. Jason Miller

University Press of Florida

The chapter discusses the Scottsboro case of 1931 and the continued failure to pass antilynching laws in the United States throughout the 1940s. It puts on view Hughes's fury against the practice of lynching as well his reaction to the Scottsboro case, which brought to life a poem “Christ in Alabama.” It moves ahead to the imagery in the poem to document its controversial nature and effect on immediate advertising losses suffered by the poem's first publisher. Furthermore, the chapter moves on to look into Hughes's “The Bitter River.” It examines the time in which he wrote one of the longest poems of his career, which was in response to the lynchings of two fourteen-year-old boys, Ernest Green and Charlie Lang.

Keywords:   Scottsboro case, Langston Hughes, antilynching laws, United States, World War II, Christ in Alabama, The Bitter River, Ernest Green, Charlie Lang

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