Richard Bruce Nugent (1906-1987)— writer, painter, illustrator, and popular bohemian personality—lived at the center of the Harlem Renaissance. Protégé of Alain Locke, roommate of Wallace Thurman, and friend of Langston Hughes and Zora Neale Hurston, the precocious Nugent stood for thirty years as the only African American writer willing clearly to indicate his homosexuality in print.
His contribution to the landmark publication FIRE!!, the prose composition “Smoke, Lilies and Jade,” was unprecedented in its celebration of same-sex desire. A resident of the notorious “Niggeratti Manor” in 1927-28, Nugent appeared on Broadway in Porgy (the 1927 play) and Run, Little Chillun (1933).
His life was chronicled in the movie “Brother to Brother” starring Anthony Mackie. I have it as one of my movies of the month, click here for more info!
This month, in honor of Black History Month, I will highlight individuals who have shared to the world their God given talent. Today, I highlight writer, poet and activist – Langston Hughes who was born on Feb. 1, 1902! Well known for his writings during the Harlem Renaissance, his signature work is the 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.”
You can read more about him here