Fight for Freedom and Other Writings on Civil Rights

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University of Missouri Press, Dec 1, 2001 - Civil rights movements - 272 pages
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Nearing the end of a distinguished literary career that spanned nearly fifty years, Langston Hughes took on the daunting task of writing the official history of the national Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Beginning with the social, political, and economic contexts that led to the founding of the NAACP in 1909 and ending with a summary of its targeted goals for 1963, Hughes attempted to write a history that would be comprehensive in scope and singular in its purpose of highlighting the ways in which the Association had a direct and positive influence on racial justice in the United States. Focusing on the individuals who had the greatest impact on the NAACP and the issues with which the organization was most concerned in its first fifty years of existence, Hughes produced the widely acclaimed Fight for Freedom, striking an exceptional balance between biography and cultural history. Long before the publication of Fight for Freedom, Hughes had begun writing nonfictional prose about these same issues as a regular columnist and essayist for the nation's most influential African American publications, including the Chicago Defender and Crisis. A selection of these popular columns and other essays—which reveal the extent to which Hughes's unique, varied, and sometimes Blues- tinged narrative voice shifted in tone over the course of his extensive career—is included in this volume. Hughes intersperses historical facts with compelling anecdotes that often frame subtly ironic commentaries on various themes. The result is history that provides a lens through which to view Hughes's attitudes in the early 1960s toward the ways the NAACP addressed the vital social, cultural, political, and economic issues central to its agenda. Fight for Freedom and Other Writings on Civil Rights makes a unique contribution to the oeuvre of an African American writer whose full significance to American literature, history, and culture will continue to be defined well into the twenty-first century.
 

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Page 29 - Then to side with Truth is noble when we share her wretched crust, Ere her cause bring fame and profit, and 't is prosperous to be just; Then it is the brave man chooses, while the coward stands aside, Doubting in his abject spirit, till his Lord is crucified, And the multitude make virtue of the faith they had denied.
Page 27 - Organization where these purposes are set forth as: " '. . . voluntarily to promote equality of rights and eradicate caste or race prejudice among the citizens of the United States; to advance the interest of colored citizens; to secure for them impartial suffrage; and to increase their opportunities for securing justice in the courts, education for their children, employment according to their ability, and complete equality before the law.
Page 29 - Finally, its editorial page will stand for the rights of men, irrespective of color or race, for the highest ideals of American democracy, and for reasonable but earnest and persistent attempts to gain these rights and realize these ideals.

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About the author (2001)

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.

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