Researcher Finds Earlier Birth Date for Langston Hughes | Smart News

Eric McHenry, a Kansas-based poet, was recently browsing through the digital archive when he stumbled across a reference to a young Langston Hughes.

“Little Langston Hughes has been quite ill for the past two weeks,” read the clip from the Topeka Plaindealer, an African-American weekly that ran from 1899 to 1958. “He is improving.”

The news item was dated December 20, 1901, which, as Jennifer Schuessler reports in an exclusive story for the New York Times, was very curious. The accepted date of the famed poet’s birth is February 1, 1902—a few months after his name appeared in the Plaindealer. McHenry’s research, in other words, suggests that Hughes was born…

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