Langston Hughes, Religious Thinker

In the second episode of the AAS 21 podcast, Professor Eddie S. Glaude Jr. spoke with Wallace Best, Professor of Religion and African American Studies about his forthcoming book, Langston’s Salvation: American Religion and the Bard of Harlem. In the book, Professor Best encourages readers to read Langston Hughes religiously, and as a humanist in the tradition of American Religious Liberalism. Though Hughes was criticized, censored and even humiliated by other writers, and federal investigators, because of some of his more radical work like the poem ‘Goodbye Christ,’ Best contends that even through imagining a critical discourse with God, Hughes demonstrates an acknowledgement as to the existence of God. In fact, Hughes was a lover of gospel music and an avid churchgoer, never belonging to one church, but present in his own way in many, reflecting Hughes’ evasive way of being, a style Best describes as influenced by Walt Whitman and Carl Sandburg. Best’s new work is the result of 12 years of archival research and “communing with Langston.”

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This podcast was recorded, edited, and published by the Department of African American Studies at Princeton University.

Social Media Manager / Producer: Allison Bland
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Music: Courtney Bryan, composer, AAS Postdoctoral Fellow alum, assistant professor of music at Tulane University

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