February 4, 2007

Langston Hughes

Dream Deferred by Langston Hughes

What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up

Like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore--
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over--
like a syrupy sweet?
Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.
Or does it explode?

You may read this Langston Hughes's poem in High School. You may have already. Did you know that the title to Lorraine Hansberry's drama, A Raisin in the Sun, came directly from this very poem, Dream Deferred? The library has the text, film, and even an unpublished original screenplay for A Raisin in the Sun. Check these out early and get ahead on your assignments. Read The Big Sea: An Autobiography by Langston Hughes about the his younger years living in Paris and Harlem in the 1920s. Or check out more Langston Hughes poetry (for all ages) for yourself...even if there is no assignment.

Dream Variations by Langston Hughes

To fling my arms wide
In some place of the sun,
To whirl and to dance
Till the white day is done.
Then rest at cool evening
Beneath a tall tree
While night comes on gently,
Dark like me, -
That is my dream!

To fling my arms wide
In the face of the sun,
Dance! whirl! whirl!
Till the quick day is done.
Rest at pale evening. . . .
A tall, slim tree. . . .
Night coming tenderly
Black like me.

This book's title, Black Like Me, was taken directly from the above poem, Dream Variations, by Langston Hughes. Read Langston Hughes, Maya Angelou, and other world famous black writers for first hand views of being a minority in this country. Then read one unusual story of a white reporter who dyed his skin darker to try and understand what it feels like to be black in America's deep south during the Civil Rights Movement and times of extreme racism. The Cliff's Notes are available as an e-book through the FCPL catalog. Ask a librarian how to access the e-books from home. Also, consider reading Robert Bonazzi's book, Man in the Mirror, for more insight about John Howard Griffin's life before writing Black Like Me. Is this where Michael Jackson got the name for his song, Man in the Mirror in 1988? Research and find other ways that Langston Hughes has influenced modern literature and society. Can we, in modern times, understand what life was like back then? How can we continue to honor strength, perseverance, and creativity as we remember Langston Hughes?

As you are seeking answers, if the exact book you want is not in the FCPL collection today, ask about Inter-Library Loan (ILL) at the Reference Desk. We will try to find the book and get it to you right away, even if it means the book has to cross state lines to reach you.


I Hear America Singing featuring Langston Hughes -

America's Story featuring Langston Hughes -

My Hero featuring Langston Hughes -

Biography Website Celebrates Black History -

Red Hot Jazz and Langston Hughes -