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A New Discovery of Langston Hughes: Finding Rivers of Soulful Inspiration

Images of Books & Authors in Unexpected Places

Every time I visit the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, in Harlem, I make certain to walk into the center of the African cosmogram, at the entryway to the Langston Hughes Auditorium.

African-Cosmogram Honoring-LangstonHughes-and-Arturo-A-Schomburg Photo-Credit Luvon-Roberson 650x487The African Cosmogram, in honor of Langston Hughes and Arturo A. Schomburg, located at the entryway to the Langston Hughes Auditorium. Photo Credit: Luvon Roberson, Book Editor, What's The 411 Networks

Long flowing sapphire-blue lines weave their way from the rust-brown innermost circle of the cosmogram, spilling outward only to stop at the walls of the Schomburg itself. The cosmogram represents Langston Hughes's poem, The Negro Speaks of Rivers:

I've known rivers:
I've known rivers ancient as the world and older than the
flow of human blood in human veins.
My soul has grown deep like the rivers.
I bathed in the Euphrates when dawns were young.
I built my hut near the Congo and it lulled me to sleep.
I looked upon the Nile and raised the pyramids above it.
I heard the singing of the Mississippi when Abe Lincoln
went down to New Orleans, and I've seen its muddy
bosom turn all golden in the sunset.
I've known rivers:
Ancient, dusky rivers.
My soul has grown deep like the rivers.

While I've long loved the brilliant flow of both the poem's rhythm and the rivers depicted in the cosmogram, it is only recently that I made a new discovery about that space I've so often stood at the center of: Beneath it, Hughes's remains are interred in a stainless steel vessel.

I did not know.

I only knew that I was drawn to that center-space, which is inscribed with this verse from his poem:

"My soul has grown deep like the rivers."

Another Reflection on the Image:

"The circle is an awesome and active trail, a continuing cycle of connections, in the lives of Schomburg, Hughes, and all others who come to the Schomburg Center. To those who believe there is simply too much bad mojo in the world, this circle holds the cure."

Christopher P. Moore, Curator and Special Projects Coordinator, Schomburg Center.


LANGSTON HUGHES: Inspires Writers of Today

It seems fitting to think of Langston Hughes in this space at this time. He was born on February 1, 1902 and died on May 22, 1967, and now, nearly 50 years later, continues to inspire.

LangstonHughes Poster Created-by-Ruth 495x700

On February 19, 2015, The Center for Black Literature at Medgar Evers College directed by Dr. Brenda Greene, celebrates his life and voice in Langston Hughes, Personal and in the World, a program with readings and conversation on the influence of his work on contemporary literature and writers. Professor Gordon Thompson, director of the Langston Hughes Festival at CCNY, and Professor Robert Reid-Pharr, director of the Institute for Research on the African Diaspora in the Americas and the Caribbean, at CUNY's Graduate Center, among others, lead the program's homage to Hughes.

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Dr. Brenda Greene Sponsors Commemoration of Civil Rights Event with New York Historical Society

Dr. Greene: A Curator of Black Culture through Black Literature and Art

In this video, Dr. Brenda M. Greene, Executive Director, Center for Black Literature and Chair, English Department at Medgar Evers College of the City University of New York, discusses the crucial need for exhibits such as Stephen Somerstein's photo exhibit chronicling the 1965 Selma to Montgomery Civil Rights March.

The conversation with What's the 411 Book Editor Luvon Roberson was held at the opening reception for Stephen Somerstein's photo exhibit chronicling the 1965 Selma to Montgomery Civil Rights March at the New York Historical Society in New York City on January 15, 2015, the actual birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

The Center for Black Literature was a co-sponsor of the reception.

411TV Episode: Bill Cosby, NFL Draft, Diva Night in Harlem, Author Rodney Wilson, and SWV

NFL Football, Fashion, Independent Author, and Bill Cosby

Episode 3 of the weekly celebrity-driven entertainment and lifestyle television show, What's The 411, features interviews with fans and former football players at the NFL Draft 2012; Princess Jenkins, owner of the Brownstone, a fashion boutique in Harlem; the legendary Bill Cosby; independent author and publisher, Rodney Wilson; and a throwback interview with the '90s girl group, SWV.

What's The 411 reporter, Andrew Rosario, was on the scene at the NFL Draft 2012, mixing it up with fans and former players Willie Roaf and Wesley Walker. Roaf and Walker talk about the draft today versus when they entered the NFL 20 years prior. Walker also gives us an inside scoop as to how the NFL Scouting Combine got started.

Meanwhile What's The 411 reporter, Barbara Bullard, was uptown in Harlem talking with Princess Jenkins, owner of the fashion boutique, The Brownstone, about Diva Night.

Author and publisher, Rodney Wilson, talks about his book, Fingered for Murder, as well as the genesis of his publishing company.

At the annual Medgar Evers College Founders Gala, President William L. Pollard; faculty; administrators; and founders of the college speak about the importance of higher education. At the Medgar Evers College Founders Gala, comedian, actor, and philanthropist Bill Cosby speaks about the need for all of us to do a better job of shaping the minds of young people.

Check out the video below with scenes from the NFL Draft 2012; Bill Cosby; Diva Night with Princess Jenkins, owner of The Brownstone, a women's fashion boutique in Harlem; and a throwback interview with SWV.

Medgar Evers College Founders, Alumni, and Visionaries Dinner featuring Dr. Bill Cosby

WATCH VIDEO: Medgar Ever College Founders Day Celebration featuring founders, visionaries, faculty, local luminaries, community members, and Dr. Bill Cosby

This video features a number of luminaries from the Brooklyn, NY community who attended the Medgar Evers College Founders, Alumni, and Visionaries Dinner. The event, held annually, is to benefit the Medgar Evers College Foundation, a non-profit organization that provides scholarships to students.

Actor/Philanthropist/Social Activist, Dr. Bill Cosby, gave the keynote address. In addition to Dr. Cosby, the video features: Sylvia Kinard, Esq.; Dr. William L. Pollard, President, Medgar Evers College; Joan Parrott-Fonseca, Esq., Former Dean, School of Business, Medgar Evers College; African Art Collector, Eric Edwards; Marketing Management Expert, Marilyn Artis; Ann Tripp, News Director, WBLS-FM Radio; Byron Lewis, Chairman & CEO, Uniworld; Dr. Moses Newsome, Medgar Evers College, Vice President, External Relations; and Ryan Mack, noted author, financial commentator, and President of Optimum Institute of Economic Empowerment.

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