Letters from Langston

Thursday, March 16, 6:30pm
The People’s Forum
320 West 37th Street 
New York, NY 10018

Please join MaryLouise Patterson and Ruth Wilson Gilmore as they discuss Letters for Langston. Register here for the hybrid event.

Langston Hughes, one of America’s greatest writers, was an innovator of jazz poetry and a leader of the Harlem Renaissance whose poems and plays resonate widely today. Accessible, personal, and inspirational, Hughes’s poems portray the African American community in struggle in the context of a turbulent modern United States and a rising black freedom movement. This indispensable volume of letters between Hughes and four leftist confidants sheds vivid light on his life and politics.

Letters from Langston, edited by Evelyn Louise Crawford and MaryLouise Patterson, begins in 1930 and ends shortly before his death in 1967, providing a window into a unique, self-created world where Hughes lived at ease. This distinctive volume collects the stories of Hughes and his friends in an era of uncertainty and reveals their visions of an idealized world—one without hunger, war, racism, and class oppression.

About the discussants:

Ruth Wilson Gilmore is the director of the Center for Place, Culture, and Politics. She is author of Abolition Geography: Essays Towards Liberation (Verso 2022); and Golden Gulag: Prisons, Surplus, Crisis, and Opposition in Globalizing California (UC Press 2007); and, co-edited with Paul Gilroy, Stuart Hall: Selected Writings on Race and Difference. (Duke 2021). Change Everything: Racial Capitalism and the Case for Abolition is forthcoming from Haymarket. Her internationalist work features in the Antipode documentary Geographies of Racial Capitalism with Ruth Wilson Gilmore (2020). A co-founder of many grassroots organizations, her awards include the 2020 Lannan Cultural Freedom Prize (shared with Angela Y. Davis, and Mike Davis), and the 2022  Marguerite Casey Freedom Scholar Prize.

Dr. MaryLouise Patterson is a retired general pediatrician from Weill-Cornell Medical College and New York Hospital in New York City. Born in Chicago to two Leftist activists and members of the Communist Party, Louise and William Patterson, she grew up in Brooklyn, New York. She earned her medical degree from Patrice Lumumba Friendship University in Moscow, USSR and a Master’s of Public Health, from the University of California, Berkeley. She is the first African-American woman to graduate from medical school in the USSR. She gives talks to public school classes, lectures on racism in health care, participates in numerous Civil Rights, Social Justice and Peace struggles. She was a member 0f the Communist Party and now is with the Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism. She has been a member of the IFCO/Pastors for Peace medical advisory committee for the Cuban Latin American Medical School, ELAM, which selects US students to study medicine on full scholarship in Cuba. She is on the Board of the New York Metro Physicians for a National Health Program which is fighting for universal single payer health care in the US. She is co author of the book, “Letters from Langston: From the Harlem Renaissance to the Red Scare and Beyond”. It’s the edited 40 year correspondence between her and her co-author’s parents and Langston Hughes.

This event is organized and sponsored by the Center for Place, Culture and Politics at the Graduate Center, CUNY and cosponsored by the People’s Forum. It is free and open to the public.