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Langston Hughes Trivia

Brain Snacks: Tasty Tidbits of Knowledge

A cafe and literary meeting spot named Busboys and Poets in Washington, D.C.'s historic U Street district celebrates Langston Hughes's brief tenure as a busboy in the city.20

Hughes was elected Class Poet upon graduating from the eighth grade in Lincoln, Illinois. Looking back, he saw evidence of prejudice in the decision, which he noted with his typical humor: "I was a victim of a stereotype […] There were only two of us Negro kids in the whole class and our English teacher was always stressing the importance of rhythm in poetry. Well, everyone knows—except us—that all Negroes have rhythm, so they elected me class poet. I felt I couldn't let my white classmates down, and I've been writing poetry ever since."21

Hughes never married, and never openly discussed his sexuality during his lifetime. Many biographers believe that Hughes was gay, citing the homoerotic images in some of his poems and his admission of a sexual experience with another man during his youth.22

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall was one of Hughes's classmates at Lincoln University.23

Hughes was five feet four inches tall. In the 2004 film Brother to Brother, he was played by six feet one inch actor Daniel Sunjata.24

Though the New York City Preservation Committee declared Hughes's home a landmark in 1981, the house is privately owned and is not open to the public. A non-profit group is trying to resurrect the ivy-covered townhouse as a museum and performing space.25

"Black Nativity," Hughes's gospel retelling of the birth of Jesus, will soon be made into a movie. Writer and director Kasi Lemmons expects that the movie could be out as soon as 2009.26

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