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A Lost Work by Langston Hughes Examines the Harsh Life on the Chain Gang
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8/15/2019 at 8:56:04 PM GMT
Posts: 59
A Lost Work by Langston Hughes Examines the Harsh Life on the Chain Gang

Steven Hoelscher writes about a recently rediscovered essay by Langston Hughes. In this article, he writes about Hughes' travels with Zora Neale Hurston in which an event of that trip provided the inspiration for this essay. This article also features the essay itself.

Here is an excerpt from this article:

"It’s not every daythat you come across an extraordinary unknown work by one of the nation’s greatest writers. But buried in an unrelated archive I recently discovered a searing essay condemning racism in America by Langston Hughes—the moving account, published in its original form here for the first time, of an escaped prisoner he met while traveling with Zora Neale Hurston.

In the summer of 1927, Hughes lit out for the American South to learn more about the region that loomed large in his literary imagination. After giving a poetry reading at Fisk University in Nashville, Hughes journeyed by train through Louisiana and Mississippi before disembarking in Mobile, Alabama. There, to his surprise, he ran into Hurston, his friend and fellow author. Described by Yuval Taylor in his new book Zora and Langston as “one of the more fortuitous meetings in American literary history,” the encounter brought together two leading lights of the Harlem Renaissance. On the spot, the pair decided to drive back to New York City together in Hurston’s small Nash coupe. ..."

Continue reading about Hughes’ lost work by using this link.


Steven Hoelscher. “A Lost Work by Langston Hughes Examines the Harsh Lief on the Chain Gang.” Smithsonian Magazine. (July 2019). <>

Last edited Wednesday, August 21, 2019

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