February 1

Big Boi

Big Boi (Antwan André Patton) (born February 1, 1975) – U.S. rapper, actor, producer, songwriter

Read an interview with Big Boi

Langston Hughes

Langston Hughes (born February 1, 1902) – U.S. poet, playwright, novelist, essayist – Emperor of Haiti (1936)

Read a description of the play Emperor of Haiti


Verses from Hughes' poem Cultural Exchange:

Pushcarts fold and unfold
In a supermarket sea.
And we better find out, mama,
Where is the colored laundromat
Since we move dup to Mount Vernon.

In the pot behind the paper doors
on the old iron stove what's cooking?
What's smelling, Leontyne?
Lieder, lovely Lieder
And a leaf of collard green.
Lovely Lieder, Leontyne.

You know, right at Christmas
They asked me if my blackness,
Would it rub off?
I said, Ask your mama.

Read the entire poem "Cultural Exchange"


Listen to "I, Too"


Excerpts from Hughes' poem "Let America Be America Again"

Let America be America again.
Let it be the dream it used to be.
Let it be the pioneer on the plain
Seeking a home where he himself is free.
(America never was America to me.)

* * *
I am the man who never got ahead,
The poorest worker bartered through the years.

Yet I'm the one who dreamt our basic dream
In the Old World while still a serf of kings,
Who dreamt a dream so strong, so brave, so true,
That even yet its mighty daring sings
In every brick and stone, in every furrow turned
That's made America the land it has become.

O, I'm the man who sailed those early seas
In search of what I meant to be my home--
For I'm the one who left dark Ireland's shore,
And Poland's plain, and England's grassy lea,
And torn from Black Africa's strand I came
To build a "homeland of the free."

The free? Who said the free? Not me?

Watch Haley Buckner's presentation about Langston Hughes


Yevgeny Zamyatin

Yevgeny Ivanovich Zamyatin (born February 1, 1884) - Russian essayist, novelist, playwright, short story writer - We (1920)

Read the Author's Calendar post about Zamyatin

Listen to Zamyatin's dystopian novel We

Zoe Kirk-Robinson discusses the background of
Zamyatin's scifi novel We here