Title: The Short Stories of Langston Hughes
Author: Langston Hughes
Publish date: 1996
Genre: Short Stories
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He’s brilliant. He’s an artist. And he’s magic.
I fell in love with the writing of Langston Hughes while reading his first memoir, The Big Sea. He’s best known for his poetry, but his memoir was nothing short of amazing. So I knew I needed to read more. Since then, I’ve purchased 11 of his books and reading everything of his I can get my hands on.
His short stories did not disappoint. The Short Stories of Langston Hughes is an anthology of 47 short stories written between 1915 (when he was in high school) and 1963 (almost his entire life). The stories are all different, but the common thread is life during the times for people of color. Some stories are funny, some are sad, but they are all beautiful.
My two favorite stories are…
One Friday Morning, a story of strength and courage. A young black girl receives a scholarship for her art only to find out that the scholarship was taken from her because of the color of her skin. Her teacher, a Irish woman tries to comfort her, “…America is only what we who believe in it, make it…we still have in this world of ours democracy to make. You and I…”
Breakfast in Virginia, a story of friendship and kindness. Two soldiers – who are black – have been told they can’t sit in the white dining cart (even though they are clearly fighting for this country!). A white patron dismisses the waiter, takes the two soldiers to his private car and treats them to breakfast with him. The exchange between one of the soldiers and the white man stuck with me, “‘This here time, sir, is the first time I ever been invited to eat with a white man. I’m from Georgia.’ ‘I hope it won’t be the last time,’ the white man replied. ‘Breaking bread together is the oldest symbol of human friendship.'”
It’s really interesting reading Langston Hughes right now. We are at a pivotal moment in our country regarding race and equality. These stories were written between 57 and 105 years ago by Langston Hughes. But sadly, many of them could have been written today. It’s important that we read these stories. That we know these stories. So we can grow and learn and be better. And stop making the same horrible mistakes generation after generation.
Now, onto the next work of art by Langston Hughes.
My rating: 5/5 stars