Monday, February 15, 2010

Hughes and Hurston on Haiti

Haiti's being in the news, to understate things awfully much, has reminded me that two Harlem Renaissance authors, Langston Hughes and Zora Neale Hurston, developed a great interest in that nation.

An anthropologist as well as a fiction-writer, Hurston wrote the study: Tell My Horse: Voodoo and Life in Haiti and Jamaica. It was reissued in 2008.

Hughes wrote a play, Troubled Island, which concerns the Haitian rebel leader, Jean-Jacques Dessalines, who helped defeat the army Napoleon had sent to Haiti and who later became emperor of Haiti. His dates are 1758-1806. Later, the composer William Grant Still and Hughes (as librettist) collaborated on the opera, Troubled Island.
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