In her letter to Queens Library’s C.E.O Thomas W. Galante, United for Libraries’ Executive Director Sally G. Reed said, “I am most pleased that you’ve applied for this designation for a man who had such significant impact on African-American literature and American literature generally.” Hughes wrote more than 860 poems in his lifetime, and was heralded as an author of short stories, plays, essays, anthologies and as a journalist from the 1920s until his death in 1967.
Although Hughes lived in Harlem, New York, the library was named in his honor in 1969 when it opened for public service. Langston Hughes Community Library is home of the Black Heritage Reference Center of Queens County, housing New York State’s largest public circulating collection of print and non-print material on the Black Experience. This collection is now estimated at over 45,000 titles, including approximately 1,000 volumes of Theses and Dissertations on Black Literature.
The plaque presentation will be part of the 28th Annual Langston Hughes Celebration. It will be made by by Rocco Staino, United for Libraries board member emeritus and director of the Empire State Center for the Book.
The day's events, held in honor of Langston Hughes's birthday, on February 1, 1902, will include the following free activities:
11:00 a.m. -- A screening of the biographical film, Hughes Dream Harlem by Darralyn Hudson
Noon -- A plaque presentation by Rocco Staino and a lecture by author Jamal Joseph with a special musical rendition of Hughes’ poem “The Negro Speaks of Rivers” by the IMPACT Performing Ensemble
2:30 p.m. -- Queens Borough President Helen M. Marshall will present six scholarships for African American Heritage Month
3:30 p.m. -- A lecture on Langston Hughes and the Harlem Renaissance by historian Rashidah Ismaili Abu Bakr
4:30 p.m. -- A musical performance, “Music from the Mind of the Trumpet” by Eddie Allen and Friends
The library was founded by residents of the Corona-East Elmhurst community. They formed the Library Action Committee of Corona-East Elmhurst, Inc. and operated the library’s daily operations from 1969 through 1987 as a “federally funded special project of Queens Library.” In 1987, Langston Hughes Community Library and Cultural Center gained full status and the responsibility of the library shifted to Queens Library. The Library Action Committee still has responsibility for funding and operating the after school Homework Assistance Program and the Cultural Arts Program.