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Young Talent

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Poet Langston Hughes was "discovered" in 1925 while working as a busboy in a Washington, D.C. restaurant. He slipped some of his poems next to poet Vachel Lindsay's dinner plate and, with Lindsay's enthusiastic backing, went on to become a celebrated documenter of the African-American experience. He died in 1967. Hughes' earliest poems were short verses he penned for the Belfry Owl, his high-school magazine. He recited them for a children's collection released as an album in 1955. Hear him celebrate spring's soggy showers in "April Rain Song," along with other works from his teenage years, at Smithsonian.com/jukebox.

Listen to Langston Hughes perform "April Rain Song"

Music courtesy of Smithsonian Folkways, the non-profit record label of the Smithsonian Institution. Please click here to purchase or for more information

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