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Black History Month and Food: The Prose and Politics of Langston Hughes

Lobster Thermidor, recipe in related links below (photo from http://www.memoirsofachocoholic.com/)

I came across the poem "Dinner Guest: Me" by the Harlem Renaissance (and beyond) author Langston Hughes. Born in 1902 in Joplin Missouri, Hughes grew up in Lawrence, Kansas, and several other Midwestern communities, at the turn of the century before making his way to Harlem where he lived until his death and in 1967. This poem is about race relations in Manhattan and the city’s black intellectual communities some of which struggled with black pride and the promises of white liberal politicians and their constant delays in improving conditions for black folk in North America. Tomorrow I will be doing a video post on Langston  Hughes through the Lens of Food. Also see the related links below. 


Dinner Guest: Me
I know I am
The Negro Problem
Being wined and dined,
Answering the usual questions
That come to white mind
Which seeks demurely
To Probe in polite way
The why and wherewithal
Of darkness U.S.A.--
Wondering how things got this way
In current democratic night,
Murmuring gently
Over fraises du bois,
"I'm so ashamed of being white."

The lobster is delicious,
The wine divine,
And center of attention
At the damask table, mine.
To be a Problem on
Park Avenue at eight
Is not so bad.
Solutions to the Problem,
Of course, wait.

Lobster Thermidor Recipe: http://www.cuisine-france.com/recipes/lobster_thermidor.htm


Langston Hughes Biographer Arnold Rampersad: [Listen 36 min 12 sec]  http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5126003

Black History Month: Langston Hughes Through the Lens of Food Part 1

Black History Month: Soul, Double Consciousness, and Don Cornelius