Langston Hughes was raised by a grandmother who actively aided the Underground Railroad, and his first forays into poetry reflected personal tales of slavery and heroism. Through his poetry, Hughes lived up to a proud tradition and continued the uplifting legacy of his race. He was a renaissance man in nearly every aspect of his life, and his name has become synonymous with the Harlem Renaissance movement he helped launch. This biography traces Hughes' life and artistic development, from his early years of isolation, which fostered his fierce independence, to his prolific life as a poet, playwright, lyricist, and journalist. Hughes' inspiring story is told through 21 engaging chapters, each providing a fascinating vignette of the artistic, personal, and political associations that shaped his life. Recounted are the pivotal developments in his literary career, with all its struggles and rewards, as well as his travel adventures to Africa, Europe, and Asia, and his political commitments to fight fascism as well as racism. A timeline, a selected bibliography of biographical and critical sources, and a complete list of Hughes' writings complete the volume.