Langston Hughes

Langston Hughes was an influential American poet, social activist, novelist, playwright, and columnist. He was one of the earliest innovators of the then-new literary art form called jazz poetry. Hughes is best known as a leader of the Harlem Renaissance in New York City during the 1920s and 1930s, which sought to celebrate African-American culture and arts. His work often focused on the lives and struggles of African Americans, and he used his writing to advocate for racial equality and social justice.


This list of books are ONLY the books that have been ranked on the lists that are aggregated on this site. This is not a comprehensive list of all books by this author.

  1. 1. Best of Simple

    "Best of Simple" is a collection of tales featuring the character Jesse B. Semple, or "Simple", who shares humorous and insightful commentary on the African American experience in the United States. The stories, set in Harlem, explore themes of race, class, and identity through the lens of Simple's everyday life and interactions. The book is known for its witty dialogue, vivid characters, and its unflinching look at the realities of life for Black Americans in the mid-20th century.

  2. 2. The Big Sea

    "The Big Sea" is an autobiography that explores the life of a significant figure in the Harlem Renaissance. The narrative follows his early life in the Midwest, his travels around the world as a seaman, and his experiences in New York during the 1920s, where he was a central figure in the Harlem Renaissance. Throughout the book, the author offers his observations on racism, class, and the creative process, providing a vivid and insightful portrait of a complex era in American history.

  3. 3. The Weary Blues

    This book is a seminal collection of poems that delves into the African American experience during the early 20th century, capturing the struggles, joys, and cultural vibrancy of the Harlem Renaissance. Through its titular poem and others within the collection, the work explores themes of racial identity, social injustice, and the power of music and art as forms of resistance and celebration. The lyrical verses blend the rhythm of blues and jazz with vivid imagery, showcasing the author's innovative use of language and his profound connection to the Black community's heritage and spirit.

  4. 4. The Collected Poems of Langston Hughes

    This anthology is a comprehensive collection of the works of a renowned African American poet, spanning five decades of his prolific career. The collection includes over 800 poems that touch on themes of love, life, race, and social issues, reflecting the poet's experiences and observations in the Harlem Renaissance period. The poet's distinct style combines jazz rhythms, colloquial language, and vivid imagery, making his work a significant contribution to American literature.

  5. 5. I Wonder As I Wander

    In this autobiographical work, the author takes readers on a journey through his varied experiences as a young African American man during the early 20th century. Spanning continents and cultures, he recounts his travels from the United States to the Soviet Union, Asia, and Europe, sharing his observations on race, politics, and the human condition. His narrative weaves together personal anecdotes with broader social commentary, offering insights into the life of a creative mind seeking understanding and connection in a complex world. Through his wanderings, the author explores not only the diverse landscapes and societies he encounters but also delves into the depths of his own identity and the universal quest for artistic expression and freedom.