Renaissance man of the south
Gary Younge remembers Langston Hughes, America's most popular poet, whose centenary is celebrated in London next week
Saturday 26 October 2002
In 1920, an envelope postmarked from Kentucky arrived at the offices of the African-American artistic and intellectual magazine Crisis. Inside it was a poem called "The Negro speaks of rivers". When the literary editor, Jessie Fauset, read it, she handed it straight to her editor and mentor, WEB du Bois. "I took the beautiful dignified creation to Dr du Bois," she recalled, "and said 'What colored person is there, do you suppose, in the United States who writes like that and is yet unknown to us?' "