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Meet Amazing Americans Writers & Artists Langston Hughes
Photo of Henry 'Red' Allen and his band played jazz to Langston Hughes's poetry
Henry "Red" Allen and his band played jazz to Langston Hughes's poetry.

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A Renaissance Man
Langston Hughes was an artist who used words to express himself, but other forms of art influenced him, and his work crossed over into other mediums. Hughes was considered a Renaissance man, someone who has wide interests and is talented in many areas. Jazz and blues were key elements of the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s, a time when African Americans in a section of New York City started a movement to celebrate their culture. Hughes said that jazz and blues expressed the wide range of black America's experience, from grief and sadness to hope and determination. The famous Henry "Red" Allen Band accompanied Hughes in a 1958 poetry recording. The rhythms of jazz also influenced his 1951 Montage of a Dream Deferred. This was a book-length poem in five sections depicting the African American urban experience using music, poetry, and history.
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