Cover for DE SANTIS: Langston Hughes and the *Chicago Defender*: Essays on Race, Politics, and Culture, 1942-62

Langston Hughes and the *Chicago Defender*

Essays on Race, Politics, and Culture, 1942-62

Langston Hughes is well known as a poet, playwright, novelist, social activist, communist sympathizer, and brilliant member of the Harlem Renaissance. He has been referred to as the "Dean of Black Letters" and the "poet low-rate of Harlem."

But it was as a columnist for the famous African-American newspaper the Chicago Defender that Hughes chronicled the hopes and despair of his people. For twenty years, he wrote forcefully about international race relations, Jim Crow, the South, white supremacy, imperialism and fascism, segregation in the armed forces, the Soviet Union and communism, and African-American art and culture. None of the racial hypocrisies of American life escaped his searing, ironic prose.

This is the first collection of Hughes's nonfiction journalistic writings. For readers new to Hughes, it is an excellent introduction; for those familiar with him, it gives new insights into his poems and fiction.

"The most persistent criticism of Langston Hughes has been that he was not a thinker, that he had no ideas to speak of, was not an intellectual, and therefore need not be taken too seriously by intellectuals and scholars. A collection of this kind is needed to do justice to the often inspired quality of Hughes's weekly journalistic writing and to expand our sense of his interests and ideas. De Santis's is the first book to bring this material within easy reach."--Arnold Rampersad, author of the two-volume The Life of Langston Hughes and coauthor, with Arthur Ashe, of Days of Grace: A Memoir

Christopher C. De Santis is Professor of African-American Literature and Chair of the Department of English at Illinois State University.

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