February 08, 2011

>Black History Month Heroes: Langston Hughes

>GLSEN is proud to honor Black History Month by celebrating the contributions of the African American community to the LGBT and safe schools movements. Throughout February we will be recognizing the African American heroes who have made significant contributions to the LGBT and safe schools movements. Click here for more information, and keep reading all month long for new additions!

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Langston Hughes (1902 – 1967) was a novelist, playwright, writer and columnist. In a time when blackness was looked down upon in American Society, Hughes was unashamed and proud of his heritage (a theme that can be seen throughout his collection of work). While it is unclear that he identified as LGBT, some academics agree that there are gay undertones present in Langston’s poetry, citing many of his unpublished works which may have been written a male lover. Hughes was never open about his sexuality; he instead chose to focus on the struggle of his people in the African American community. Hughes is now recognized as one of the key figures in the Harlem Renaissance. He was honored with countless awards both during and after his life, has a middle school named in his honor and has even been included in a series of Black Heritage postal stamps. Langston served as a mentor for many young black writers of the 50’s and 60’s, one of whom described him as having "set a tone, a standard of brotherhood and friendship and cooperation, for all of us to follow.”

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We want to know who your heroes are! If you know an African American person who has contributed to the LGBT and safe schools movement, post about them on the Gay-Straight Alliances Facebook page. You can also tweet your heroes to @DayofSilence using the #GLSENBHM hash tag!

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