Poetry Corner: Ballads of Lenin by Langston Hughes

Ballads of Lenin by Langston Hughes, 1933.

Langston Hughes was a poet and social activist of African, European and Native American heritage. A communist who was particularly involved with the struggle of African-Americans, he travelled extensively around the USSR and was involved in film making and Soviet anti-segregation propaganda before travelling to Spain to report on the Civil War.

After various accusations and a testimony in front of the US senates anti-communist Homeland Security Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations he was distanced from the Communist Party USA and the socialist movement as a whole. Although still venerated as a great African-American activist and poet large sections of his work are still shunned due to their intimate attachment to the communist movement.

Poetry Corner: VE Day 75 – Will V-Day Be Me-Day Too?

As part of the celebrations around the 75th Anniversary of Victory in Europe Day, Challenge’s Poetry Corner will be featuring a selection of poems from across the world, inspired by the war and its events.

Here we feature Will V-Day Be Me-Day Too? written by Langston Hughes. The poem is written from the perspective of a black US serviceman. It is a profound comment on the profound and structural racism on which the USA is and was based and the sad fact that black servicemen were abroad fighting to defeat the same racist and oppressive ideologies they were forced to endure at home.