Exploring the Life and Legacy of Langston Hughes in ‘Soul of Langston’ Play on Feb. 23

In a one-man show written and performed by Daron P. Stewart, Soul of Langston presents the poignant humor and insight found in Langston Hughes’ poetry, along with the defining moments that influenced his life and the global reach of his literary legacy.

To commemorate Black History Month, a free performance is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on Friday, February 23, at the Takoma Park Community Center auditorium, located at 7500 Maple Avenue.

Dressed in a broad-lapeled suit and positioned beside a vintage typewriter, Stewart embodies Hughes and his remarkable journey to becoming the celebrated figure known as “Harlem’s Wonder,” whose contributions were instrumental in the Civil Rights movement during the Harlem Renaissance.

Infused with jazz and blues, the performance delves into Hughes’ prolific output as a poet, novelist, essayist, and playwright. Starting as a busboy at the Wardman Park Hotel in Washington, D.C. in the 1920s, Hughes went on to achieve renown as a poet, later influencing the naming of the local Busboys and Poets eateries.

Stewart has showcased his talents nationwide and internationally at various events, including festivals, educational institutions, religious congregations, and conventions. He leads an artist residency initiative and serves as the founder of the independent production firm Norad Media. For more details about Stewart and a glimpse of the play, visit souloflangston.com.

Hughes, born in Joplin, Missouri in 1901, depicted the challenges faced by Black working-class individuals in a discriminatory America, as well as their enduring resilience and strong sense of community. In his renowned essay “The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain,” he asserted that “no great poet has ever been afraid of being himself.”

This free event is part of the Takoma Park Arts series, which includes film screenings, art exhibitions, theater, concerts, and poetry readings. No tickets are needed, and donations will be gladly accepted. Limited parking is available at the Takoma Park Police lot, the nearby Piney Branch Elementary School lot, or on the surrounding streets.

Photo Courtesy of Norad Media / City of Takoma Park

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