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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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Introduction

Introduction

Chapter:
(p.1) Introduction
Source:
Langston Hughes and American Lynching Culture
Author(s):

W. Jason Miller

Publisher:
University Press of Florida
DOI:10.5744/florida/9780813035338.003.0001

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

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