Monday, February 22, 2010

History and Legacy--Black History Month

Black History Month challenges parents striving to include all ages and stages of their family in an appreciation of the history and legacy of African Americans. Adding photos to the classic 33 word poem by acclaimed poet Langston Hughes would be one way to approach that perfect book to celebrate a resilient people.

MY PEOPLE, a poem by Langston Hughes with photographs by Charles R. Smith, Jr.
ginee seo books, Atheneum Books for Young Readers 2009

Langston Hughes (1902-1967) is best known for his work during the Harlem Renaissance. His words evoke and transform the black experience. Also a poet, photographer Smith was intrigued by this lovely, spare poem and asked the question, “How do you translate words into pictures?” His goal: “More than anything, I simply wanted to show that like any other group of people, black people come in all shapes, sizes, shades, and ages, and that each of us is unique.”

I think he succeeded. What do you think?


  1. I had the good fortune of meeting Ashley Bryan last week. He recited verse after verse of Langston Hughes, making me fall in love with his verbal imagery all over again. Your post about Hughes is yet another confirmation that I need to reread his work (the way Mr. Bryan would recite it)!

  2. Yes, I've had the good fortune to meet Ashley Bryan, too. He's an amazing man.


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