The leading voices of African-American letters come together in this essential collection of poems, prose and theater performance. One of the most significant occurrences in America during the 20th century was the rise of African-American writers to the forefront of literature. Documenting their views on American culture and its tragic and glorious history, African-American writers' contributions reflected their struggle for equality and paved the way into a brighter future for their country. This collection includes selections of some of the best of those works, with an original introduction by Nikki Giovanni: Black Boy by Richard Wright. A classic of American autobiography, this subtly crafted narrative chronicles one man's coming of age in the Jim Crow South. Performed by Brock Peters. A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry. An emotionally lacerating landmark of American theater, Lorraine Hansberry's A Raisin in the Sun is presented here with a full cast performance starring Ruby Dee and Ossie Davis. Excerpts from The Nikki Giovanni Poetry Collection. A collection of poems from one of the most commanding voices to grace America's political and poetic landscape. Read by the author. Excerpts from the "Tall Tales" Chapter of Every Tounge Got to Confess by Zora Neale Hurston. Collected in the 1920s, these stories pay tribute to the richness of Black vernacular and reflect -- with wit, wisdom, compassion, and style -- the sorrows and joys of the African-American heritage. Performed by Ruby Dee and Ossie Davis. Excerpts from Langston Hughes Reads. A rare and exceptional recording on one of the greatest American poets of the 20th century. Three poems by Gwendolyn Brooks. "We Real Cool," "Malcolm X," and "The Sermon on the Warpland." Performed by Ruby Dee.
Langston Hughes, February 1, 1902 - May 22, 1967 Langston Hughes, one of the foremost black writers to emerge from the Harlem Renaissance, was born on February 1, 1902, in Joplin, Mo. Hughes briefly attended Columbia University before working numerous jobs including busboy, cook, and steward. While working as a busboy, he showed his poems to American poet Vachel Lindsay, who helped launch his career. He soon obtained a scholarship to Lincoln University and had several works published. Hughes is noted for his depictions of the black experience. In addition to the black dialect, he incorporated the rhythms of jazz and the blues into his poetry. While many recognized his talent, many blacks disapproved of his unflattering portrayal of black life. His numerous published volumes include, "The Weary Blues," "Fine Clothes to the Jew," and "Montage of a Dream Deferred." Hughes earned several awards during his lifetime including: a Guggenheim fellowship, an American Academy of Arts and Letters Grant, and a Spingarn Medal from the NAACP. Langston Hughes died of heart failure on May 22, 1967.