Written by Lesa Cline-Ransome
Discovering a book of Langston Hughes’ poetry in the library helps Langston cope with the loss of his mother, relocating from Alabama to Chicago as part of the Great Migration, and being bullied.
Primary Source Pairing:
An ode to the power of written words, Finding Langston is a beautiful story about finding yourself through reading. Langston’s world grows and grows with each visit to the George Cleveland Hall Branch of the Chicago Public Library. Named after an African American surgeon who supported libraries and served on the Chicago Public Library Board in the early 1930s, The George Cleveland Hall Branch Library is an integral part of the Bronzeville neighborhood both in the time of the story Finding Langston and today. For this primary source pairing, explore the photographs on the Mapping the Stacks website created by a team of researchers at the University of Chicago. Encourage students to discuss the role of the George Cleveland Hall Branch Library in the book.
Questions for Discussion:
- Describe what you see.
- What do you notice first?
- What people and objects are shown?
- How are they arranged?
- What is the physical setting?
- Make a connection with something you see in these images and something you read in the book Finding Langston.