Virtual Community Read “Langston Hughes: Fredomm Fighter With a Pen”

Join Chatham Community Library and actor, author, and poet, Mitch Capel, as we explore (virtually) the subjects of race and racism using the poetry of Langston Hughes.  Poems selected for this event will be from the Selected Poems of Langston Hughes: A Classic Collection of Poems by a Master of American Verse (September, 1990). The poems in this collection were chosen by Hughes himself shortly before his death in 1967 and represent work from his entire career, including “The Negro Speaks of Rivers,” “The Weary Blues,” “Still Here,” “Song for a Dark Girl,” “Montage of a Dream Deferred,” and “Refugee in America.”  This collection provides insight into a poet of extraordinary range, directness, and stylistic virtuosity.

James Mercer Langston Hughes (February 1, 1901 – May 22, 1967) was an American poet, social activist, novelist, playwright, and columnist from Joplin, Missouri. He moved to New York City as a young man, where he made his career. His poetry and fiction portrayed the lives of the working-class blacks in America, lives he portrayed as full of struggle, joy, laughter, and music. Permeating his work is pride in the African-American identity and its diverse culture. Hughes stressed a racial consciousness and cultural nationalism devoid of self-hate. His thought united people of African descent and Africa across the globe to encourage pride in their diverse black folk culture and black aesthetic. Hughes was one of the few prominent black writers to champion racial consciousness as a source of inspiration for black artists. From 1942 to 1962, as the civil rights movement was gaining traction, he wrote an in-depth weekly column in a leading black newspaper, The Chicago Defender.

Mitch Capel is an award-winning author, actor, poet, recording artist and Master Storyteller. Born and raised in Southern Pines, North Carolina, Capel grew up listening to his grandmother read “The Life & Works of Paul Laurence Dunbar.” Years later, he began studying and memorizing the book. Mitch, who first began writing and performing skits at the age of 12 and has over 35 hours of stories stored to memory, has also been described as a “word magician”, a “national treasure”, “unexpectedly powerful” and a “transformer of lives”.  He has been featured at numerous schools, libraries, museums and festivals since 1985 including the DuSable in Chicago; The Kennedy Center in DC; The National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough, TN; The Smithsonian’s 2009 Folklife Festival on the National Mall and The Presidential Inauguration of Barack Obama. Capel will facilitate the Community Read focused on Hughes’ writings.

Registration is required and is limited to 50 participants. Each registrant will receive a complimentary copy of Selected Works of Langston Hughes and a packet containing a list of selected readings and discussion questions. Participants are encouraged to read in advance of the event and to familiarize themselves with the themes throughout Hughes’ works and related discussion questions. Register for this event here:

This program is free and is funded in part by the Friends of the Chatham Community Library.


Oct 03 2020


3:00 pm - 5:00 pm




Chatham Community Library
197 NC Hwy 87 N, Pittsboro, NC 27312
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