He renewed associations with leaders of the urban

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strikes against him when it came to securing writing contracts. He renewed associations with leaders of the Urban League and the NAACE Both organizations were now focused on securing black civil rights through the courts. Thurgood Marshall, Hughes's classmate at Lincoln University, was the head of the NAACP's legal team. Hughes helped to raise money. In 1952, the Henry Holt company published Laughing to Keep From Crying, an anthology of twenty-four short stories that had been previously published in magazines. Hughes's small
success with this book was overshadowed by Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man, which won the National Book Award and made Ellison financially independent. Another novelist, James Baldwin, won fame and fortune for Go Tell It On the Mountain, a gritty, realistic novel written in formal English, which Hughes described as "a low-down story in a velvet bag." Back in 1940, Richard Wright's success with the novel Native Son had overshadowed Hughes's reputation as literary spokesman for African Americans. Melvin B. Tolson and Gwendolyn Brooks would soon emerge as favorites of the critics. Publicly, Hughes praised these black authors and wrote flattering blurbs for their book covers. Privately, he felt that their novels and poetry were not representative of black culture. He observed that blacks no longer felt racial pride. He said, "They prefer drama and poetry that avoids racism. We have a rich folk heritage in [America], and much of it has come out of the Negro people." Langston Hughes endorsed young black authors such as Gwendolyn Brooks. (Yale Collection of American Literature, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library) Hughes continued writing the "First Book" children's series for Franklin Watts, which ultimately included The First Book of Negroes, The First Book of Africa, The First Book of Jazz, The First Book of Rhythms, The First Book of the Caribbean, and The First Book of the West Indies. In addition, he wrote the introduction to Dodd and Mead's Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe, Famous Negro Heroes of America, Famous Negro Music Makers, and Famous American Negroes. Editors at Dodd and Mead deleted all incidents regarding controversial leaders and racism from Famous American Negroes, including a biographical sketch of W.E.B. Du Bois. They also deleted the biography of Paul Robeson from Famous Negro Music Makers. Hughes regretted it, but he did not protest. His career was at stake. On Christmas Day, 1952, he had only $9.04 in his pocket.
Were You Ever a Member of the Communist Party? By 1953, anti-communist emotions were at a fever pitch in the United States. Senator Joseph McCarthy, chairman of a Senate Sub-Committee on Permanent Investigations, interrogated Americans he suspected of espionage on behalf of the Soviet Union. McCarthy's stated goal was to expose traitors within the State Department who were distributing communist propaganda through books, film, and Voice of America broadcasts. Two of Hughes's books, Not Without Laughter and Fields of Wonder were on the "black list." Langston Hughes testified before the U.S.

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