Category Archives: Karamu House

Famed Author’s Home Up for Sale

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For a mere sum of $85,000, you can purchase the home of famed

playwright, poet and author, Langston Hughes. It has been recently

renovated but still has the beauty of an older home, including the

third floor attic garret, where Langston, in his high school years would

sleep, write and create. This is located in Cleveland, Ohio where the

area is being kept up like the old neighborhoods in Columbus, like

German Village or Victorian Village. These are the side streets that

people drive down to see Christmas lights on. The homey type of

neighborhood where you may be content or like Langston, may want

to flee from.

His home, at 2266 East 86th, was along the bus route to Central High

School and Karamu House, an internationally acclaimed centerpiece

of plays, dramatic arts and dance productions, featuring varied cultures

and backgrounds. This is known also as the “oldest African-American

theater in the United States.” This is where Langston Hughes would

premiere many of his plays.

Born James Mercer Langston Hughes in 1902 and passing away in1967,

Hughes contributed greatly to the writing community and especially,

helping the world to recognize the talents of African-Americans.

Although Hughes was well known for writing to represent his racial

background, he had Caucasian, African American and Native American

roots.

He was originally from Missouri, later in his junior high years moving to

live with his mother and stepfather in Cleveland, Ohio. This is where the

home is on sale.

Langston Hughes graduated from Central High School, honed some of

his creative writing skills at Karamu House. He then moved on to become

one of the first writers (innovators) to form what is considered the Harlem

Renaissance era (1920- 1930’s) in New York. His journals of short stories,

poems and social commentary began under the roof here in Cleveland.

Langston Hughes’ heritage was of two great-grandmothers who were

African-American slaves and two great-grandfathers who were Kentucky

land and slave owners. Hughes is known for the origin of writing a form

of poetry called, “jazz poetry.” He has a lovely lyrical and rhythmic style

that contributed to the annals of black poetry, being included in many

high school literature textbooks. Hughes was “ahead of his time,” in my

opinion. He had already died when I was exposed to his writing in the

70’s and our literature teacher had us reading his poetry aloud, so we

could listen to its lyrical “notes.”

This is how I came across his writing and was aware of Langston Hughes.

One of his more famous poems is titled,

“The Negro Speaks of Rivers

“My soul has grown deep like the rivers.

I bathed in the Euphrates when dawns were young.

I danced in the Nile when I was old

I built my hut by the Congo and it lulled me to sleep.

I looked upon the Nile and raised the pyramids above it.

I heard the singing of the Mississippi and Abe Lincoln went

down to New Orleans, and I’ve seen the muddy bosom turn all

golden in the sunset.”

(1920)

Hughes attended one year of engineering school at Columbia, but dropped

out. He felt the weight of prejudice upon him and his true calling of writing

pulling him away from his studies.

Here is a beautiful example of Hughes’ poems:

“The night is beautiful

So the faces of my people.

The stars are beautiful,

So the eyes of my people.

Beautiful, also, is the sun

Beautiful, also, are the souls of my people.”

From the poem, “My People,” (1923).

The realtor, Sherry M. Callahan, said there has been an offer or bid on the

house, from an aspiring writer who may be hoping to have inspiration come

from the walls of this author’s home. There is a nice fireplace to sit by, write

and soak in the ambiance. It could be claimed by a historical group or a

person seeking to have a tour stop for visitors to Cleveland, too.

This house includes a “page out of literary history,” Sherry noted.

Do you need a place to find your “muse?”