“Poet Low Rate” with Humor and Grace

This summer, KHC features daily posts about the speakers and topics in the Humanities catalog. Today’s featured presentation is “Langston Hughes in Kansas” by Carmaletta Williams.

Langston Hughes

Langston Hughes

“I fell in love with Langston Hughes through the grace, power and humor of his poetry,” says Speakers Bureau presenter Carmaletta Williams. “He identified with people that resembled all those in my neighborhood.”

“By naming himself the ‘poet low rate’ of all of America, he made sure his life’s work belonged to all of America, not just my part of it,” she explains. “The title was a fitting honor for Hughes, not an insult. His stories animate the lives of working class America with humor and grace.”

When Langston Hughes was still a baby, his mother brought him to live with his grandmother in Lawrence. Williams’ research uncovers how his experiences in Kansas remained an important part of his art throughout his life. In her presentation, “Langston Hughes in Kansas,” she shares Hughes’ works and shows how his words gave voice to Black Americans at a time when opportunities for them to speak and be heard were limited.

Carmaletta Williams

Carmaletta Williams

Carmaletta M. Williams is a professor of English and African American Studies at Johnson County Community College. She has served as a guest speaker on the African American experience at cultural organizations throughout the Kansas City area, the state of Kansas, nationally, and internationally.

You can bring Carmaletta M. Williams’ “Langston Hughes in Kansas” or one of the other presentations in the Humanities catalog to your community for FREE with a Resource Center Support Grant. It’s quick and easy! Visit the Speakers Bureau page to get started or contact Leslie Von Holten, director of programs, at leslie(at)kansashumanities.org for more information.