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Langston Hughes

Langston Hughes was born February 1, 1902, in Joplin, Missouri. His parents
divorced when he was a child, and his father moved to Mexico. He was raised by his
grandmother until her death when he was thirteen. He then moved to Lincoln, Illinois to
live with his mother and her husband. It was here that he started writing.

Following graduation from high school, Hughes spent a year in Mexico with his father,
whom he did not have a good relationship with. He wanted his father to give him money
to attend Columbia University to be a writer. Although his father wanted him to be an
engineer and study abroad, they soon made a compromise of studying engineering at
Columbia. During these years, he held odd jobs as an assistant cook, launderer, and a
busboy. In November 1924, he moved to Washington, D.C. In 1926 Hughes first book of
poems The Weary Blues, was published by Alfred A Knopf. He finished his college
education at Lincoln University three years later. He won the Harmon gold medal in
1930 for his first novel, Not without Laughter.

He died from prostate cancer May 22, 1967, in New York. In his memory, his residence
at 20 East 127th Street in Harlem, New York City, has been given landmark status by in
New York City, and east 127th Street was renamed Langston Hughes Place.