Chronicling the New Negro Movement of the 1920s and 1930s, Langston Hughes (born February 1, 1902) was a leading figure in the Harlem Renaissance. Writing about life in a familiar and authentic vernacular, he incorporated the sound of music into his prose and poems: “Take Harlem’s heartbeat, Make it a drumbeat, Put it on a record, Let it whirl.” Originally a Midwesterner with a family history that included mixed-race people and abolitionists, Hughes’ ability to distill truth and outrage while maintaining an uncommon faith in humankind made a deep impression on the voices of the Freedom Movement in the ’60s. His style was a breakthrough in modern literature and its lyricism translated into the development of blacker voices in music, too. Nina Simone, Len Chandler, Richie Havens and Gil Scott-Heron are among the musical artists who say they were profoundly influenced by Hughes’ jazz-inspired work. As decades wore on, his imprint resounded in the work of poets Amiri Baraka, Al Young, Jayne Cortez, Sonia Sanchez, Nikki Giovanni and many more. Decades later, Hughes remains a continuous source of inspiration and influence, his words impacting the work of artists and scholars diverse as Cambio and Dr. Cornel West.