2. The Langston Hughes House
The home of one of the Harlem Renaissance’s most famous writers still stands at 20 East 127th Street. Known as the Poet Laureate of Harlem, Langston Hughes was a legendary Black poet and activist. Arriving in New York City from Missouri in 1921 to attend Columbia University, Hughes and his poetry became closely associated with the neighborhood of Harlem. He lived at this Italian brownstone (the one with the black door in the photo) from 1947 to 1967 during the last two decades of his life. The home was designated as an official NYC Landmark in 1981. The I, Too, Arts Collective now uses the house as a community space for emerging artists and writers and hosts creative workshops, seminars, and poetry salons dedicated to developing underrepresented voices. The main floor functions as a learning center where visitors can learn more about the author and view his original typewriter on display in the parlor.
A poet, novelist, and playwright, Hughes’s writing celebrated African American identity and culture. He was an early innovator of jazz poetry, a genre-bending literary form that adopted jazz-like rhythm or the feel of improvisation. Some of his most famous works include the poems “Harlem,” “Mother to Son,” “The Weary Blues,” and “A Dream Deferred.” Hughes is widely remembered today for his advocacy for Black literature and culture, trailblazing use of literary form, leadership during the civil rights movement, and status as an LGBT+ icon.