About Langston Hughes

Langston Hughes’s Life in Historical Context

Compiled by Steven C. Tracy, W. E. B. Du Bois Department of Afro-American Studies, UMass-Amherst © 2001

History Timeline

Henry James, The Wings of a Dove; Paul Laurence Dunbar, The Sport of the Gods; Enrico Caruso makes his first phonograph recording; the Dinwiddie Colored Quartet releases early recordings by African Americans; Aswan Dam opened; U.S. acquires perpetual control over the Panama Canal; Cecil Rhodes dies (b. 1853).

James Langston Hughes is born in Joplin, Missouri, later moving to the Lawrence, Kansas home of his grandmother Mary Langston with his mother Carrie when his father departs for Cuba. Hughes stays primarily with his grandmother during his early childhood while his mother moves about seeking jobs.

W.E.B. Du Bois, The Souls of Black Folk; Jack London, The Call of the Wild; Henry Ford founds the Ford Motor Co.; eighty-four African Americans reported lynched.