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The Enduring Power of Langston Hughes


April 21, 2021 — 100 years after Langston Hughes published his early breakthrough poem "The Negro Speaks of Rivers," the Kansas City Public Library celebrates the Missouri-born poet, playwright, and novelist in a multifaceted event coinciding with National Poetry Month. Kevin Young, director of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, joins University of Kansas English professor and Hughes scholar Edgar Tidwell in a discussion of Hughes’s continued relevance, particularly to young people. Two Kansas City teens, Tahraji Milsap and Jayden James, read four of Hughes’ poems and share their thoughts during the conversation on his legacy.

Glenn North, the inaugural poet laureate of Kansas City’s 18th & Vine Jazz District, offers opening remarks.