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Langston Hughes: Examining Portraiture

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Language Arts And English +3

This teacher's guide provides portraits and analysis questions to enrich students' examination of Langston Hughes, an American poet, novelist, playwright, and activist. Includes the video "Defining Portraiture: How are portraits both fact and fiction?" and the National Portrait Gallery's "Reading" Portraiture Guide for Educators, both of which provide suggestions and questions for analyzing portraiture.  Also includes "The Music in Poetry" lesson plan and website, which connect the rhythm of blues stanzas to Langson Hughes' poetry and may be used as a lesson extension.


  • What do these portraits have in common? How are they different?
  • How are these portraits both fact and fiction?
  • How do these portraits reflect how they wanted to be seen, or how others wanted them to be seen? Consider for what purpose these portraits were created.
  • Having read one of his poems, does the portrait capture your image of Langston Hughes? Why, or why not?
  • If you were creating your own portrait of Langston Hughes, what characteristics would you emphasize, and why?

Keywords: missouri, mo, poetry, jazz, blues

Langston Hughes

National Portrait Gallery

Langston Hughes

Archives of American Art

Langston Hughes

National Portrait Gallery

Portrait of Langston Hughes

National Museum of African American History and Culture

34c Langston Hughes single

National Postal Museum

The Music in Poetry: Ballad and Blues Stanzas

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access