Originally presented as a closing comment at the 2017 “Remembering Langston Hughes” conference, this essay explores the timeliness of Hughes's work in two distinct senses. First, it places Hughes in the context of the post–World War I decade, a transformative moment not only in African American culture but also in American culture as a whole. Second, it examines Hughes's uncanny ability to speak across time, to speak directly, pointedly, to the changing circumstances in which we find ourselves, both as individuals and as a society. The essay closes with a short reflection on the relevance of Hughes and his work to American politics today.

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