Please join us on Thursday, February 25 at 5:30PM at South Hall 2623 (The Sankey Room) as editors Evelyn Crawford and MaryLouise Patterson discuss their book Letters from Langston: From the Harlem Renaissance to the Red Scare and Beyond (University of California Press). The editors will share memories of “Uncle Lang,” their activist parents, and their meticulous compilation of the edition.
Guest presenters Geoffrey Jacques, Stephanie Batiste, Natasha O’Neill, and Christopher Williams will read passages from the collection of correspondences. Copies of the book will be available for purchase at the event.
From the official press release:
“Letters from Langston is a collection of unguarded and candid confidences—both personal and political—between American literary giant, and leading figure in the Harlem Renaissance, Langston Hughes and four of his closest African American friends, Louise Thompson Patterson, William L. Patterson, Matt N. Crawford, and Evelyn Graves Crawford. The four exchanged letters with Hughes for nearly forty years; three were important leftist political figures and active members of the Communist Party. Like Hughes, all were investigated and harassed by the F.B.I., and in the case of William L. Patterson, imprisoned for political reasons.
Letters from Langston begins in 1930 and spans the succeeding decades, ending shortly before Hughes’s death in 1967. The two couples share their lives of political activism and the everyday joys and sorrows of family life with their friend Langston. He, for his part, savors their affections, companionship, and support during his own struggles as an often-misunderstood ‘literary sharecropper.’ This distinctive volume of correspondence captures stories of friends and family, living in an era of uncertainty and sharing a vision of an idealized world—one without hunger, war, racism, and class oppression.
Evelyn Louise Crawford, a retired arts administrator and consultant, and MaryLouise Patterson, a pediatrician in clinical practice, are the daughters of Langston Hughes’s cherished friends… Hughes was a frequent guest in the homes of the two families and an ‘uncle’ to both girls who knew him from their respective childhood years in California and New York.”