This celebratory edition of The Weary Blues reminds us of the stunning achievement of Langston Hughes. Hughes—who was just 24 at the time of The Weary Blues's first appearance—spoke directly, intimately, and powerfully of the experiences of African Americans at a time when their voices were newly being heard in American literature. In a new introduction to the work, the poet and editor Kevin Young suggests that Hughes from this very first moment is "celebrating, critiquing, and completing the American dream," and that he manages to take Walt Whitman's American "I" and write himself into it. We find here not only such classics as "The Negro Speaks of Rivers" and the great 20th-century anthem that begins "I, too, sing America," but also the poet's shorter lyrics and fancies, which dream just as deeply.
The National Museum of African American History and Culture is the nation's largest and most comprehensive cultural destination devoted exclusively to exploring, documenting, and showcasing the African American story and its impact on American and world history. Established by an Act of Congress in 2003, it is the culmination of decades of efforts to establish a national museum that promotes and highlights the contributions of African Americans. To date, the Museum has collected close to 37,000 objects.