The Block

The Block by Langston Hughes cover, several people gathered on a city street

The Block

Written by Langston Hughes

Illustrated by Romare Bearden

New York, Viking, 1995

9" x 12.35"

Kerlan Collection, Children's Literature Research Collections

University of Minnesota Libraries

These powerful illustrations of Harlem neighborhood life are segments from a 1971 six-panel collage by Romare Bearden that resides at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. They were paired for this book with poems by the artist's contemporary Langston Hughes. Hughes, like Bearden, was a leading figure in the Harlem Renaissance. Although the poet did not compose these lyrics with young readers in mind, accessibility and unadorned truth telling were always high on his aesthetic agenda, and from his very first appearance in print, in the April 1921 issue of The Brownies' Book magazine, Hughes considered writing for the younger generation a priority.


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