Langston Hughes

(2852 words)

In 1953 Roy Cohn, chief counsel of Senator Joseph McCarthy’s U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, asked a 51-year-old Langston Hughes — a suspected Communist who was known for his innovations in blues poetry in the 1920s, as well as his more conservative lyrical work in the 1940s — whether he was “kidding” when he had written his strident political poems of the 1930s. Hughes responded to this question not with a simple yes or no, but rather by offering an interpretation of the poem under scrutiny, the idealistic if provocatively-titled anthem “One More ‘S’ in the U.S.A”. Hughes first confirmed his right to provide a “full” interpretation in his own defense, and then began at the beginning: “I, s…

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Hofer, Matthew. "Langston Hughes". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 12 October 2007
[, accessed 25 September 2016.]

Related Groups

  1. African American Poetry