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Poetry of Langston Hughes – G. Oliver King

Saturday, February 24, 2024

Join us on Saturday, February 24th, for the second afternoon in our 2024 Salon Series with the poetry of Langston Hughes with actor G. Oliver King in honor of Black History Month.

In this performance, King will not only interpret the poetry of Langston Hughes but will embody Hughes’s persona. This nuanced approach aligns with Oliver’s ongoing commitment to exploring diverse facets of performance.

For several years, G. Oliver King has performed excerpts of Frederick Douglass’ works for the Sullivan County Chapter of ASALH – founders of Black History Month (The Association for the Study of African-American Life and History). He performed as the legendary icon throughout the area and at Newburgh’s Annual Frederick Douglass Day celebration. G. Oliver King’s repertoire also includes MLK’s iconic “I Have a Dream” speech, which he presented to local elementary students.

Starting as a young actor in NYC, G. Oliver King studied under Geraldine Fitzgerald and Marketa Kimbrel, leading to transformative lessons with Lee Strasberg. Touring NYC with The Everyman Company and The Chalk Circle Players, he also traveled to farms, reservations, and prisons across the U.S. and Mexico, performing with the NY Street Theatre Caravan at the Munich Olympics. In LA, he danced with The Shirley Martin Dancers and acted with Company of Angels. Teaching at La Universidad Veracruzana in Mexico, G. Oliver King appeared in the film Ultraje. He portrayed diverse roles with the Sullivan County Dramatic Workshop, worked with Delaware Valley Opera, and staged Shakespeare in the Park for At-Risk Youth. Producing Sullivan County’s first all African-American production of A Raisin in the Sun, he directed historical tributes and recently played Captain Gilroy in NACL’s Courage alongside Debra Winger. In 2021, G. Oliver King presented a virtual series of James Baldwin’s The Fire Next Time and read as Troy Maxson in August Wilson’s Fences with SUNY Sullivan’s Theatre Arts program.

Born on February 1, 1901, in Joplin, Missouri, James Mercer Langston Hughes became a prolific figure in American literature. Raised by his maternal grandmother, Hughes began writing poetry in Lincoln, Illinois. After diverse experiences, including time in Mexico, Africa, and Europe, he published his first book, The Weary Blues, in 1926. Hughes, a central figure in the Harlem Renaissance, crafted insightful portrayals of Black life. His refusal to separate personal and common Black experiences set him apart.

In addition to leaving us a large body of poetic work, Hughes wrote eleven plays and countless works of prose, including the well-known Simple books: Simple’s Uncle Sam (Hill and Wang, 1965); Simple Stakes a Claim (Rinehart, 1957); Simple Takes a Wife (Simon & Schuster, 1953); Simple Speaks His Mind (Simon & Schuster, 1950). He coedited The Poetry of the Negro, 1746–1949 (Doubleday & Co., Inc., 1949) with Arna Bontemps, edited The Book of Negro Folklore (Dodd, Mead & Company, 1958), and wrote an acclaimed autobiography, The Big Sea (Knopf, 1940). Hughes also cowrote the play Mule Bone (HarperCollins, 1991) with Zora Neale Hurston.

He died on May 22, 1967, in New York City. His Harlem residence is now a landmark, and East 127th Street bears the name “Langston Hughes Place” in his honor.

  • Organizer Name: DVAA
    • Type: Salon Series
    • Time: February 24, 2024 - 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
    • Venue:Krause Recital Hall, 37 Main Street, Narrowsburg, NY

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