Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information


Pen Name: Langston Hughes

Genre: C:ADULT Poetry

Born: February 1, 1902, in Joplin, Missouri


Illinois Connection

Hughes moved to Lincoln, Illinois when he was 13 years old. While he lived in Lincoln for only one year, it is here that he wrote his first verse and was named class poet of his eighth grade class. In the 1942, he wrote a highly successful column in the ''Chicago Defender'' for which he created a comic character named Jesse B. Semple, a black everyman that Hughes used to further explore urban, working-class black themes, and to address racial issues. This column ran fot 20 years. In 1949, he became the poet in residence for the Laboratory School at the University of Chicago.

Biographical and Professional Information

Hughes was a poet, novelist, short story writer, playwright, song lyricist, radio writer, translator, lecturer, author of childrens books, columnist and social activist. He was a prolific writer who is well known for introducing jazz poetry style.

Published Works Expand for more information

Titles At Your Library


-- *Harmon Gold Medal for Literature

-- *Chicago Literary Hall of Fame, 2012