New Scholarship: Seamus Joyce-Johnson on Langston Hughes and Duke Ellington.

May 24, 2019

By Nancy Kuhl

“Fellow Americans: the Relationship Between Langston Hughes and Duke Ellington” a pop-up exhibition and seminar paper by Seamus Joyce-Johnson in Professor Melissa Barton’s African-American Literature in the Archives course.
Project summary: “Using primary source materials from the James Weldon Johnson Collection, I used the pair’s correspondence and their lone known collaboration—an unpublished 1945 song called “Heart of Harlem”—as a lens into their lives at the close of World War II. The song is a socialist anthology of the Harlem Renaissance, but it includes language emphasizing the innate “Americanness” of black culture as both men sought to chart a politically safe, yet firmly pro-civil rights path at the outset of the Cold War.” 
Collections Consulted:
Langston Hughes Papers: JWJ MSS 26 box 59 folder 394
JWJ Collection Clippings File: JWJ MSS 89 box 67