Langston Hughes has been an inspiration to generations of readers and writers seeking a passionate, intelligent, and socially responsible art. In this volume, Steven C. Tracy has gathered a broad range of critics to produce an interdisciplinary approach to the important historical and cultural elements reflected in Hughes's work. Their essays, all previously unpublished, place Hughes in the context of Harlem, his preferred geographical and spiritual home base, as well as the larger political, social, musical, and artistic milieu of his rapidly changing times. They examine Hughes's negotiation of his own moral and ethical ground in a complex, sometimes hostile world, and demonstrate the remarkable triumph of a sensitive, creative human being who refused to be overwhelmed by the forces of discrimination, pessimism, and bitterness that claimed so many writers of his generation. This volume, with its historical essays, brief biography, and illustrated chronology, provides a concise yet authoritative portrait of one of America's and the world's most beloved writers.