Langston Hughes's nonfictional writings of the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s were far less polemical than his more radical writings of the 1930s, but they nevertheless reveal a consistent trajectory of political engagement and demonstrate his commitment to writing as a social and socially purposeful act. Whether he is protesting the dearth of opportunities for African American writers in movies and television, the brutality against people of color during the Zoot Suit Riots of 1943, or the indignities of racial segregation, Hughes also retained in his nonfictional writings some of the same traits that first endeared him to readers in the 1920s: clear, unaffected language; imagery that vividly depicted the lifestyles and concerns of common, working-class people; subtle, witty, yet sharply pointed commentary on racism and prejudice; and, finally, a generosity of spirit that encompassed all people, a true sense of wonder at the infinite varieties and possibilities of humanity.

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