1. In the library students will be introduced to the above mentioned printed reference materials
and given a brief description of the various information which can be found in each source.
A brief tour of the reference section of the library will be included.
2. In order for students to understand how to use each reference source, the class should
discuss which reference sources would most likely have the answers to the questions about
Langston Hughes in Worksheet 1. Students will then be divided into pairs and assigned two
of the questions from the worksheet to look for.
How old was Langston Hughes when he died?
Where was Langston Hughes born?
On what day (not date) did Langston Hughes die?
Who was the president of the U.S. when Langston Hughes was born?
Find the name of a poem by Langston Hughes using reference materials in the BCC library
Find the name of a short story by Langston Hughes using reference materials in the BCC library.
Find a picture of Langston Hughes using only reference books.
What is the capital of the state in which Langston Hughes was born?
3. Students should share their answers and discuss the strategies they used to find the
4. Students should then be divided into new pairs and told to find the answers to the
questions in Worksheet 2, all related to the stories and poems of Langston Hughes which
they will be reading in subsequent classes. (I suggest giving them about a week to complete
the assignment.) Each answer will need to be accompanied with a correct MLA citation of
their printed reference source.
5. The class should go over the answers, discuss the students’ successes and challenges in
finding the information and share their understanding of what life was like for
African-Americans in the first half of the 20th century.
What does it mean to “segregate” groups of people from one another? Give two examples of
places in which African-Americans were segregated in the U.S.. When was segregation declared
illegal in the U.S.?
Explain how Rosa Parks was important in stopping segregation in the U.S.?
Several of Langston Hughes’ stories take place in Harlem. In which big city in the U.S.
is Harlem located ? Why do you think Hughes chose Harlem as the setting for much of his writing?
One of the Hughes’ stories takes place in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Where is North
Carolina and approximately how far is it in miles from Winston-Salem to Harlem?
What was life like for most Americans in the 1930’s? Explain why.
One of Hughes’ most well-known stories, Cora Unashamed, takes place in the state of Iowa.
What percentage of the population of Iowa in 1929 was native-born white?
One of the stories we will be reading contains the following line, “It’s snowing like
the deuce.” What does this mean?
Most states in the southern part of the U.S. before 1950 had laws prohibiting
interracial marriage. What were these laws called and how did the states determine who
When did slavery end in the U.S.?
What is the meaning of illiterate? What percentage of the white population of Iowa in 1929 was
illiterate? What percentage of the black population of Iowa in 1929 was illiterate?
After completing the lesson, the class should read and discuss the pieces of literature
listed below. One of the components of the discussion should be to explain how their
research helped them more fully understand the characters.
Short Stories: Cora Unashamed, One Christmas Eve, Passing Poetry: I, Too; My People, Theme for English B
Hughes, Langston. The Collected Poems of Langston Hughes. Knopf and Vintage Books, 1994.
Hughes, Langston. The Langston Hughes Reader. New York: G. Braziller, 1958.
Hughes, Langston. Not Without Laughter. New York: A. A. Knopf, 1930.
Hughes, Langston. The Ways of White Folks. New York: Vintage Books, 1962.
ANSWERS TO WORKSHEETS. (Because students may find the information in a variety of resources,
citations for their sources are not included.)
Missouri in the U.S.
Monday (May 22, 1967)
1902 = Theodore Roosevelt
answers will vary
answers will vary
Missouri = Jefferson City
The separation, often by force, of a specific racial, religious, or other group from the
body of society. Schools, public transportation, theaters, restaurants, court houses,
churches, etc… 1964.
Rosa Parks was an African-American woman who refused to give up her seat on a bus to
a white passenger. Subsequently, the Montgomery Bus Boycott and the Modern Civil
Rights’ Movement in the U.S. began and the Civil Rights Act of 1964 made it illegal for
segregation and discrimination of African Americans to continue openly.
New York City. In the early 20th century, Harlem became a predominantly black
community where many African American artists and civil rights’ leaders congregated.
In the Southeast part of the U.S.; approximately 470 miles
Life in the 1930’s was very difficult ad the U.S. was in the Depression. Consequently,
the unemployment rates were extremely high and there were many homeless and poor.
It means that it’s snowing like the “devil.” In other words, very hard.
The Jim Crow Laws or the Black Code.
After the Civil War in 1865.
Illiterate means to be unable to read and write. ½ of 1% of whites were illiterate in Iowa
in 1929; 8.1% of Blacks in Iowa in 1929 were illiterate.