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“I like to work, read, learn, and understand life.” — Langston Hughes

Langston Hughes Library, Preserver of Hughes Memorabilia

The Langston Hughes Library in Cleveland, Ohio, honors the poet and playwright who lived in a modest house in Cleveland while attending Central High School. The Library has memorabilia of James Mercer “Langston” Hughes (1902-1967), including a letter written to the library and other items. Built in 1998, the Library is located at 10200 Superior Avenue.

According to, “After his grandmother’s death, he and his mother moved to half a dozen cities before reaching Cleveland, where they settled. He wrote the poem “The Negro Speaks of Rivers” the summer after his graduation from high school in Cleveland; it was published in The Crisis in 1921 and brought him considerable attention.”

Films Since 1939

For more than 60 years, numerous films have been produced that have a connection to the writer or his works. See a list here:

A holiday movie recommended for Langston Hughes fans is Black Nativity (2013), starring Jennifer Hudson. It is based on one of his plays (1962), features his poetry at a peak moment and has a main character named “Langston.”

The Writer’s Town

Hughes was originally from Lawrence, Kansas, but moved to Cleveland, Ohio, as an adolescent, following his father’s abandonment of the family. At the time, Cleveland was a thriving and diverse urban metropolis, making it the fifth largest city in the US at the time. Today, its population is around half the number it was a hundred years ago and has dropped its ranking to the 54th largest city in the US, according to

Read more about Langston Hughes here:

(Also read about Langston Hughes in our KansasNew York., and Tennessee sections.)

This is the eighth stop on our Ohio Author Adventures Trail.

Patricia Smart