American Treasures of the Library of Congress: Memory, Exhibit Object Focus

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Langston Hughes Requests Loan for Tuition

Langston Hughes (1902-1967) to Walter White, October 29, 1925
Langston Hughes (1902-1967)
to Walter White, October 29, 1925

Typescript letter
Manuscript Division
Gift of the NAACP, 1964 (181D.3a)

Walter White (1893-1955) to Langston Hughes, December 15, 1925
Walter White (1893-1955)
to Langston Hughes, December 15, 1925

Typescript letter
Manuscript Division
Gift of the NAACP, 1964 (181D.3b)

Walter White, the NAACP's Assistant Secretary and himself an aspiring novelist, worked tirelessly to promote the careers of Harlem Renaissance writers, artists, and performers. Poet Langston Hughes was employed as a busboy at the Wardman Park Hotel in Washington, D.C., when he wrote this letter to White requesting a loan from the NAACP to pay his college tuition. Hughes also reported on the progress of The Weary Blues and his new autobiography, Scarlet Flowers... ." In his reply letter White retorted that the latter "sounds like Louisa M. Alcott." Hughes agreed and eventually published his autobiography under the title The Big Sea (1940).

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