The focus of his research and teaching merge at the crucial intersections of American religion, African American religious history, urban religion, cultural studies, and gender and sexuality studies. Known for his poetry, plays, and social activism, the importance of religion in Hughes’ work has historically been ignored or dismissed.With attention given to the lived experiences of religion in urban contexts, he employs various historical and literary methodologies to elucidate the ways religious discourses, practices, movements, and institutions shape American society in general and African American life in particular. He has held fellowships at the Center for the Study of Religion at Princeton University and the W. This book puts this aspect of Hughes work front and center, placing it into the wider context of twentieth-century American and African American religious cultures.
Richard’s grandmother however was persistent in instilling the belief of God in Richard so she would constantly warn him of his words of blasphemy.
Saved From Innocence In most people's lives, there comes a point in time where their perception changes abruptly; a single moment in their life when they come to a sudden realization.
Both experiences in church talk about how the idea of God/ faith is imposed upon young Hughes and Wright by loved ones as well as society.
However, each character undergoes the internal conflict of whether or not to conform.
It appeared in church bulletins and other church related print media, religious editorials and essays, the private papers of ministers and other church workers, in sermons, and gospel music programs, to name a few. Why was an “atheist” fully involved in Chicago and Harlem’s world of religion and churches, regularly attending services, gospel concerts, and writing extensively about these worlds?
This drew me back to Hughes’s work, prompting me to read him “religiously,” or through the lens of religious analysis.“Before I had been made to go to church, I had been given God’s existence a sort of tacit assent, but after having seen His creatures serve Him at first hand, I had had my doubts.My faith, such as it was, was welded to the common realities of life, anchored in the sensations of my body and in what my mind could grasp, and nothing could ever shake this faith, and surely not my fear of an invisible power.” This quote states that Richard is forced to go to church (which we find out later on is due to his grandmother’s persistence) and could care less to be there because his view of faith had to do with the world around him as he perceives it, not because someone told him higher being’s existence controlled what will happen.I discovered that most of his work has always been infused with religion, including his most famous poem, “The Negro Speaks of Rivers.” Indeed, Hughes wrote as much about religion as any other topic.So, while not himself religious, Hughes was a thinker about religion to an extraordinary degree.Orsi, Professor of Religious Studies and History, Northwestern University Wallace Best: Most people think Harlem Renaissance poet Langston Hughes was an atheist. And while it would be incorrect to suggest that he was a religious believer, it is just as wrong to consider him “anti-religious.” This is an important distinction not only for how we read his poetry, but also for how we view African American religion more broadly.The history of African American religion has been written primarily from the perspective of religious “believers.” But I have come to understand that the perspective of religious skeptics, the doubtful, and the uncertain have been just as instrumental in its construction.Combining historical and literary analyses with biographical explorations of Langston Hughes as a writer and individual, As Wallace Best portrays him in this stunning, brilliantly argued and written work, Langston Hughes is a poet and prophet who spoke to the deepest dilemmas of African American Christianity in the uncompromising language of religious and artistic modernism.The road to Langston’s “salvation” was not straight, and as he charts its course over time, Best enlarges the field of American religious history and the meaning of modern ‘religion’ itself.” —Robert A.Best brings to life the religious orientation of Hughes work, illuminating how this powerful figure helped to expand the definition of African American religion during this time.Best argues that contrary to popular perception, Hughes was neither an avowed atheist nor unconcerned with religious matters.