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Black Misery was first published in 1969, but the gentle, funny, and sometimes melancholy words of Langston Hughes still cause a blink of recognition. After 25 years, it remains relevant in our own time. As you turn the pages you may say, "I remember feeling like that!" You may say, "I feel like that now."
As you look at Arouni's black and white illustrations and read the short but powerful one sentence captions, you feel the predicament of a black child adjusting to the new world of integration of the 1960s. You feel the mix of hope and dismay that characterized the decade.
Langston Hughes was a writer who often made his readers ask hard questions about life. In Black Misery he wrote about prejudice and indifference, but he wrote with humor and compassion. Today--just as we did 25 years ago-we smile and even laugh, and we also understand that some things are more than hard, are more than sad. They are pure misery.
Black Misery was the last book that Langston Hughes wrote. He died in May 1967, while working on the manuscript.
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Langston Hughes was born in Joplin, Missouri, in 1902. He traveled all over the world--to Europe, Africa, Mexico, the Soviet Union--but his heart and home were in Harlem, where he was one of the most versatile writers of the artistic movement known as the Harlem Renaissance. Though known primarily as a poet, Hughes also wrote plays, essays, novels, short stories, and books for children. His writing is characterized by simplicity and realism and, as he once said, "people up today and down tomorrow, working this week and fired the next, beaten and baffled, but determined not to be wholly beaten."
Gr. 6-12. The title is ironic. This small 1969 volume of captions and pictures has been reissued by the Opie Library of Children's Literature, but it's not really a children's book. As Robert O'Meally says in his excellent afterword, these are some of the kinds of jokes blacks tell among themselves. Teens interested in the civil rights movement, then and now, will get Hughes' wry, understated wit, his lyrical honesty about bigotry and hard times. Some things are straight from the 1960s ("Misery is when you find out your bosom buddy can go in the swimming pool but you can't"). Some things haven't changed ("Misery is when the taxicab won't stop for your mother and she says a bad word"). There's a rueful candor about private feelings ("Misery is when you heard on the radio that the neighborhood you live in is a slum but you always thought it was home"). Stereotypes are mocked all around: What if you do like watermelon? Great for group discussion of values, these scenarios make you grin, even as you wince at their painful truths. Hazel Rochman
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Book Description Paul. S. Eriksson Inc, 1969. Hardcover. Condition: New. Never used!. Seller Inventory # P110839710305
Book Description Paul. S. Eriksson Inc, 1969. Hardcover. Condition: New. Seller Inventory # DADAX0839710305
Book Description Condition: New. New. Seller Inventory # S-0839710305