Friday, March 9, 2012
Langston Hughes "Ku Klux Klan"
Heres a virtual movie of the celebrated African American poet Langston Hughes (1902 - 1967) reading his poem written in the early 1920's "Klu Klux" Hughes had been working as a Busboy (a waiter/domestic in a restaurant ) around the time the Protestant White racist organisation the "Klu Klux Klan (KKK) had organised a march through Washington DC.Langston Hughes stated in a recording made around the early 1960 that during his time in Washington DC during the mid 1920s, where he got his first big break by slipping Vachel Lindsay three of his poems scrawled on a napkin while working as a busboy. He then goes on to talk about the harrowing inspiration for his poem Ku Klux Klan, James Mercer Langston Hughes, (February 1, 1902 May 22, 1967) was an American poet, novelist, playwright, short story writer, and columnist. He was one of the earliest innovators of the new literary art form jazz poetry. Hughes is best-known for his work during the Harlem Renaissance. He is also best known for what he wrote about the Harlem Renaissance, "Harlem was in vogue." Langston Hughes wrote about his childhood in his autobiography, The Big Sea (1940)....................... You see, unfortunately, I am not black. There are lots of different kinds of blood in our family. But here in the United States, the word "Negro" is used to mean anyone who has any Negro blood at all in his veins. In Africa, the word is more pure. It means all Negro, therefore black. I am brown. My father was a darker brown. My mother an olive-yellow. On my father's side, the white blood in his family came from a Jewish slave trader in Kentucky, Silas Cushenberry, of Clark County, who was his mother's father; and Sam Clay, a distiller of Scotch descent, living in Henry County, who was his father's father. So on my father's side both male great-grandparents were white, and Sam Clay was said to be a relative of the great statesman, Henry Clay, his contemporary. I was born in Joplin, Missouri, in 1902, but I grew up mostly in Lawrence, Kansas. My grandmother raised me until I was 12 years old. Sometimes I was with my mother, but not often. My father and mother were separated. And my mother, who worked, always travelled about a great deal, looking for a better job. When I first started to school, I was with my mother a while in Topeka. She was a stenographer for a colored lawyer in Topeka, named Mr Guy. She rented a room near his office, downtown. So I went to a "white" school in the downtown district. At first, they did not want to admit me to the school, because there were no other colored families living in that neighbourhood. They wanted to send me to the colored school, blocks away down across the railroad tracks. But my mother, who was always ready to do battle for the rights of a free people, went directly to the school board, and finally got me into the Hamson Street School - where all the teachers were nice to me, except one who sometimes used to make remarks about my being colored. And after such remarks, occasionally the kids would grab stones and tin cans out of the alley and chase me home. But there was one little white boy who would always take up for me. Sometimes others of my classmates would, as well. So I learned early not to hate all white people. And ever since, it has seemed to me that most people are generally good, in every race and in every country where I have been. Kind Regards Jim Clark All rights are reserve on this video recording copyright Jim Clark 2010