Category Archives: February
February 1, 1902
The early 20th century saw a vast movement of southern blacks to the North where they sought escape from the racial intolerance of the Deep South. With the influx of migrant Blacks, urban centers in the northern states witnessed an explosion of art and culture. In New York City, this artistic eruption was known as the Harlem Renaissance and poet Langston Hughes was at its heart. Hughes attended Columbia and Lincoln Universities, and had his first poem published when he was only 19. His first book was released in 1926 and made him a literary celebrity at the age of 24. Langston soon became the most well known voice of the Harlem Renaissance, integrating jazz rhythms and beats into his poetry. In other essays, stories, and plays, he frequently relied on the colloquial mannerisms of urban blacks and eschewed violence of any kind. Hughes died in 1967 and many critics today consider Hughes a critical figure in American history.
Why don’t you think Langston Hughes included violent confrontations in his work?
Samuel Clemens was born to a successful country merchant in Florida, Missouri and lived in a commercial river city on the Mississippi River. When Sam’s father died, he took it upon himself to make his own money as a printing assistant, and began contributing humorous articles to his local newspaper. As Sam grew into adulthood, he started traveling to large cities like New York and St. Louis to learn in their libraries and submit more articles for regional newspapers. When he returned to Missouri, he then gained his steamboat pilot’s license and traveled thousands of miles up and down the Mississippi River. From exploratory river cruises, he embarked on a journey across the Great Plains to become a miner in Nevada. It was there that the well-rounded Samuel Clemens was reborn as “Mark Twain,” in one of Sam’s pieces for the Territorial Enterprise. Afterword, Mark Twain went on to use his vast experiences and knowledge of the country in his humorous stories and great novels, including The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. His incredible popularity and adventurous attitude led him to become an enormous celebrity, a friend of presidents and royalty, and a great political character.
What is a pen name? Why do you think people use them? Do you think Samuel Clemens the man…