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From Busboy to a Poet
February 1, 2007 - Email from Washington DC

My dad went to Washington DC last week, and mentioned his conference was held in the northern part of DC near the National Zoo. One of the hotels he stayed is Wardman Park Hotel, where Langston Hughes was a "busboy" in the 1920's. You may ask who is Langston Hughes? Why are you talking about him now?

In 1925, the prominent Midwestern poet Vachel Lindsay gave a reading at the hotel to which people of color were not invited. Hughes wrote out three of his poems and slipped them under Lindsay's plate. Lindsay read the poems along with his own, unbeknownst to Hughes. The next morning, The Washington Star came to the hotel to get photos of "the busboy poet." Hughes went on to be one of America's most prolific writers and assertive spokespersons for equal rights. I mention this because February is Black History Month.

To read one of Mr. Hughes' poems, please go to the Online Reading >>>

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