By W. Jason Miller
“A vade mecum for these attracted to the cultural parts, the political values, and the inventive sensibilities that united Langston Hughes and Martin Luther King Jr. in spirit, concept, and outlook. Masterfully conceived, meticulously researched, and gracefully written, this publication breaks new ground.”—Lewis V. Baldwin, writer of There Is a Balm in Gilead: The Cultural Roots of Martin Luther King, Jr.
“Archival fabric is spotlighted in Miller’s exploration of the methods Martin Luther King Jr. enlarged the attraction of his rhetoric through the use of poetry in his speeches. Readers will emerge with a better appreciation of either King and Langston Hughes.”—Donna Akiba Sullivan Harper, editor of The Later basic tales (The accumulated Works of Langston Hughes, quantity 8)
“Miller’s learn offers an unique, attractive and provocative thesis that explores the hitherto unexplored hyperlinks among 20th century African American icons.”—John A. Kirk, editor of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Civil Rights circulate: Controversies and Debates
For years, a few students have privately suspected Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech was once attached to Langston Hughes’s poetry, and the hyperlink among the 2 used to be purposefully veiled via cautious allusions in King’s orations. In Origins of the Dream, W. Jason Miller lifts that veil to illustrate how Hughes’s innovative poetry grew to become a measurable inflection in King’s voice, and that the impression are available in additional than simply the only well-known speech.
Miller contends that via utilising Hughes’s metaphors in his speeches, King negotiated a political weather that sought to silence the poet’s subversive voice. He argues that by utilizing allusion instead of citation, King shunned intensifying the threats and accusations opposed to him, whereas permitting the country to unconsciously embody the incendiary rules in the back of Hughes’s poetry.
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Extra resources for Origins of the Dream: Hughes's Poetry and King's Rhetoric
A Review for Stride toward Freedom In this era, the country was divided along lines that separated many things, including politics and culture. While Hughes was considered a political radical, he was also a cultural icon, particularly in the African American community. Hughes was simultaneously prestigious and subversive in 1958. One way this can be expressed is through a vignette of what happened when King sought reviewers for his book about the Montgomery Bus Boycott. King sat down to list the top five people he would most like to see review Stride toward Freedom and listed the first five who came to mind.
Even earlier, Hughes’s leftist politics were motivated by the fact that the American Communist Party had defended the Scottsboro Boys in 1931. While “Scottsboro made Communism a household word in African-American clubs, beauty shops, and churches” in Harlem, Hughes was far from alone in his leftist attitudes. In fact, “during the second half of the 1930s . . over two thousand black Harlemites spent time as party members” (Naison 279). However, while Hughes’s attitudes were solidified during this era, they were not born here.
His testimony was broadcast on both radio and television. For many, he was guilty by appearance. Knowing what we now know about the collusion between the FBI and the media, it is not surprising that the questions the committee asked were based exclusively on letters and evidence collected by the FBI from the fliers produced by McPherson and Smith. In an executive session two days earlier, attorney and chief counsel Roy Cohn peppered Hughes with questions about the poems in the FBI files and demanded that Hughes answer in plain language, once and for all, if he was ever a member of the Communist Party.