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Nina Simone & Langston Hughes:

From 1949-1967


National Humanities Center Podcast:     Nina Simone and Langston Hughes

"Soul Talk: Langston Hughes and Nina Simone's Friendship"

A Conversation with Tony Bolden & Jason Miller

Nina Simone

Born Eunice Waymon (in Tryon, NC, on February 21, 1933), pianist and singer Nina Simone was a one-of-a-kind performer with over 84 albums to her name.  Living in New York, the Netherlands, Liberia, and eventually France, she died in 2003 after a lifetime of friendships and acquaintances that included playwright Lorraine Hansberry and writer Langston Hughes.

Langston Hughes

Born Feb. 1, 1901 in Joplin, Missouri, Langston Hughes came to represent the world's image of a black writer by the early 1960s.  Inspiring Dr. King’s metaphors, introducing blues music into poetry, and taking Gospel music across the globe through his plays, Hughes died in May of 1967 having contributed poems that were just as essential to the Civil Rights Movement as they were to the New Negro Movement of the 1920s.  


Langston Hughes, Nina Simone, and comedian Godfrey Cambridge backstage after Simone's March 21, 1964 concert at Carnegie Hall. Photo by Bernard Gotfryd.

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