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A Tribute to Langston Hughes

WHEREAS, the prolific African-American poet and writer across genres, Langston Hughes, was born on February 1, 1902 in Joplin, Missouri and died on May 22, 1967 in New York City's Harlem; Langston Hughes was a member of the NAACP throughout his adult life, receiving the organization's prestigious Spingarn Award in 1960; and effective educators understand that students are empowered by the appreciation of highly esteemed artists from their communities; and


WHEREAS, Langston Hughes was the great nephew of 19th Century civil rights pioneer, John Mercer Langston; spent his boyhood in Kansas and his adolescence in Illinois and Ohio; graduated from Lincoln University in Pennsylvania; traveled the world as a seaman learning several languages and translating the works of many important writers; became a major voice in the Harlem Renaissance and was a writer of great renown throughout his life; and


WHEREAS, the NAACP has been called his oldest organizational ally because Langston Hughes' signature poem, "The Negro Speaks of Rivers," was first published in 1921 by the Literary Editor of the CRISIS Magazine, Jessie Redmon Fauset, a native of Lawnside Borough in the jurisdiction of the Camden County- East NAACP; he was greatly inspired by Dr. W.E.B. DuBois, James Weldon Johnson, Walter White, Roy Wilkins and many others; and


WHEREAS, the Langston Hughes postage stamp was issued by the United States Postal Service on February 1, 2002, the poet's centennial, at Harlem's Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, where Hughes used and studied the collections throughout his career; and


WHEREAS, although Langston Hughes will always be a great cultural symbol for the Harlem community, since 2005, NAACP units throughout New Jersey have begun their observances of Black History Month with a "Happy Birthday Langston Hughes Read-A-Thon" on February 1st .


THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that our NAACP units will recommend that the curricula in their local schools be enriched by beginning Black History Month with a reading tribute to Langston Hughes on his birthday, February 1st; and


BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that such activity will be pursued as an annual tradition of the NAACP.