Today’s Google Doodle celebrates the life of Langston Hughes (1902-1967), author and poet, who would have been 113 years old today had he lived. The Doodle is especially good today—animated, and with music. You can see it by either clicking on the screenshot below, or, if that doesn’t work for non-USers, watch the YouTube video below that:
Hughes, who was on our assigned reading lists in college, was a founder of the “Harlem Renaissance”, a black movement of literature, and culture in general, of the early 1900s. It was perhaps the first sustained celebration by African Americans of their own culture.
The poem in the Doodle is Hughes’s “I Dream A World”: it’s a forerunner of Martin Luther King’s “I Have A Dream” speech.
I dream a world where man
No other man will scorn,
Where love will bless the earth
And peace its paths adorn
I dream a world where all
Will know sweet freedom’s way,
Where greed no longer saps the soul
Nor avarice blights our day.
A world I dream where black or white,
Whatever race you be,
Will share the bounties of the earth
And every man is free,
Where wretchedness will hang its head
And joy, like a pearl,
Attends the needs of all mankind-
Of such I dream, my world!
His most famous poem, though, is “Harlem,” from which came the title of a famous play and movie:
What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore–
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over–
like a syrupy sweet?
Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.
Or does it explode?
Google tells how the artist, Katy Wu, made the Doodle. The source of the music is intriguing:
The doodle’s music, serving as a tour guide through each verse of the poem, features Adam Ever-Hadani on the piano and the The Boston Typewriter Orchestra, a 6 member musical ensemble that make music using manual typewriters.