Exhibition Opening: The Ways of Langston Hughes
Through July 8, 2024
Exhibiton Opening Program https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Uko6sH0mEg
Harlem Renaissance poet Langston Hughes (1901–1967) held friendships with artists across generations and disciplines. He forged connections between creative professionals, encouraged the work of others, and helped build a larger network of Black creatives and intellectuals responding to, and shaping, the current events of the time. Among them were Arna Bontemps, Zora Neale Hurston, Dorothy West, Regina Andrews, Margaret Danner, Louis Armstrong, Randy Weston, and Roy DeCarava. The photographs in this exhibition offer an intimate look at Langston Hughes with students, writers, visual artists, and performers in different periods of their maturation.
One friendship began in the classroom at Atlanta University when photojournalist Griffith Davis (1923–1993) was a student and Hughes a visiting professor. After graduating from Morehouse College in 1947, Davis became the first Roving Editor of Ebony magazine at the recommendation of Hughes. In 1948, Davis attended the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and rented a room in Hughes’ Harlem home on East 127th Street. Davis used Hughes’ home as a base while working as an international freelance photojournalist. Hughes used Davis’s marriage to Muriel Corrin Davis in 1952 as the basis for Simple Takes a Wife of his Simple series.
Multiple professional collaborations emerged from the mentorship, as did an enduring friendship. In this exhibition, Griff Davis’s photography is complemented by archival material from the Schomburg Center’s collections and letters reflecting decades of personal correspondence.
The exhibition The Ways of Langston Hughes and its text are adapted from the traveling exhibition Griff Davis-Langston Hughes, Letters and Photographs, 1947 – 1967: A Global Friendship, originated at the Florida Museum of Photographic Arts.