Langston Hughes: The Value of Contradiction, By Bonnie Greer

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The Independent Culture

When Bonnie Greer was coming of age in the 1960s , the controversial African-American writer-campaigner, Langston Hughes was unfashionable. He had testified before the House of Un-American Activities Committee, and reassured the committee that "race relations had improved in America", that it was a better place to be than the USSR.

The statement led Black America to cast him out of their minds and hearts. Greer does not sidestep his failings and contradictions but brings a depth and tenderness to her re-construction of a figure who is increasingly recognised as the father of black consciousness and whose poetry shaped an era and a community.