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Langston Hughes in Lawrence: Photographs and Biographical Resources Hardcover – December 10, 2004

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Mammoth Publications (December 10, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0976177323
  • ISBN-13: 978-0976177326
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,984,901 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jean Libby, Allies for Freedom on March 8, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a lovely book of photographs of places important to the life of Langston Hughes, African American writer, in his boyhood residence in Lawrence, Kansas. The local historians and museum people who researched and wrote the book were inspired by the designation of his home as a national poetry landmark by the American Academy of Poets in 2004. The authors have interwoven aspects of Hughes' life with the images of local places such as the grocery store owned by his grandfather, Charles Langston, in the 1880s and the centrality of the African American church in his life, and that of the black community in Lawrence.

Excerpts from Hughes' autobiographical "The Big Sea" inform the discoveries, and effective use of the scholarly biographies for this small volume that can be held in the hand while walking or driving in historic Lawrence.

This was the place of the first battles between proslavery and free-state adherents that preceded the Civil War and earned the nickname "Bloody Kansas." The winning of freedom through this fight, especially by John Brown, who later attacked slavery at Harpers Ferry with the husband of Hughes' grandmother, Lewis Leary, is central to understanding African American history in the locality of abolition. This is a nice book for a trip to Lawrence and to the local museum. Maps, photos, love of place.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Caryn A. Goldberg on December 20, 2004
Format: Paperback
This ground-breaking book shows us the places as well as the history surrounding those places that shaped Langston Hughes' childhood and family history. With vivid pictures and descriptions, a complete geneology, and an awesome amount of new discoveries about where and who influenced Hughes' growth, this book is a gem in Langston Hughes scholarship.

"LANGSTON HUGHES IN LAWRENCE is a remarkable portrait of a place that nurtured a man known for his words more than one hundred years after his birth. We owe a debt of gratitude to Low and Weso for bringing Hughes' boyhood home alive, for returnign us to those years between 1902 and 1915. Here we can see and imagine the world that made its permanent mark on the foremost poet of the 20th century" -- Maryemma Graham, Langston Hughes National Poetry Project, University of Kansas.

"No previous scholar of Langston Hughes' boyhood in Lawrence, Kansas has examined the complexities in Hughes' multiracial family or in his community with the comprehensiveness and insight that Denise Low and Thomas Weso provide in their new study." -- Elizabeth Schultz, University of Kansas
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful By T. Kelley on February 8, 2005
Format: Paperback
Langston Hughes wasn't ashamed of having two African American parents, being African American and a person of African decent!!!!!. There is no better testament to this fact than every word he put onto paper and every action of his during his lifetime!!!!!. But, this did not lead him to deny the complicated blood history of black Americans and himself. He was fully aware that unlike the pure African, black Americans are a composite of many strands of blood, a multicultural people of their own unique Diaspora who continue even today, with the exception of an inaccurate and racist political correct labeled decided few, to have their white, Asian, and Native American heritages "denied" them.

LANGSTON IN LAWRENCE..., by Denise Low and T.E. Pecore Weso, professes to outline and show most of the physical places incidental to the life of Langston Hughes during his early years as a boy in Lawrence, Kansas. Here, it succeeds very well. The city has maintained much of its historical legacy. The reader is allowed to see places where Langston walked in his youth and talked about in his two autobiographies and in those biographers like Arnold Ampersad and Faith Berry. There is good material to get a general idea of the place and time lived in by Langston.

But, the weight of this book is how it takes great pains to trace Langston Hughes heritage up to him. The authors go into great detail to tell who was who on the family tree, their identity, their contributions-- dubious and otherwise, and who was white and who was black and how all of this contributed to Langston creativity and concerns about injustices against black Americans and people in general.
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More About the Author

Denise (Dotson) Low grew up in the Flint Hlls of Kansas, descended from British Isles, German, and Native (Delaware/Cherokee) peoples. She is 2007-2009 Kansas Poet Laureate, with 20 published books of poetry, personal essays, and scholarship. Her poetic works explore the interactions of historic and natural time with individual imagination. She is 2008-2013 member the national board of the Associated Writers & Writing Programs and president 2011-12. For 25 years she taught at Haskell Indian Nations University, and she has been visiting professor at the University of Kansas and University of Richmond. Currently she teaches courses for Baker University. She has awards from the NEH, Lannan Foundation, The Newberry Library, Academy of American Poets, and Ks. Arts Commission. Her academic books include prose about Native and settler literatures of the middle plains region. Her web site is www.deniselow.com, and she maintains a writing-related blog, http://deniselow@blogspot.com. She also is on Twitter. The Feb. 12, 2011 Kansas City Star had this to say about her _Ghost Stories_: "Let Denise Low, a former Kansas poet laureate (2007-2009), tell you tales of the Great Plains with her recent book "Ghost Stories of the New West."Her poems take readers through the natural tapestries and landscapes that we Midwesterners are lucky to have. With the poem "Trailhead," we observe the plight of travelers on the Oregon Trail: "Watch for travelers/ who risk what they have/ for what might happen." Read "On Thompson River" or "Flint Hills Twilight" to the one you love and let their vision of this land and the hopes that endure within it resonate."