11 x 17 Poster of poet Langston Hughes with words from “I Too”
Hughes entered Columbia University and, at his father’s insistence, studied engineering instead of writing. Hughes ultimately didn’t earn a degree from Columbia – after just a year, he left the university, citing racial prejudice there – but while in New York he did learn something that would perhaps serve him even better – he discovered Harlem.
Though Columbia wasn’t right for Hughes, he did earn a bachelor’s degree. After spending several years in Europe, Hughes enrolled in the historically black Lincoln University, where he completed his education. Among his classmates was future Supreme Court justice Thurgood Marshall.
After college, Hughes returned to New York, where he would remain a resident of Harlem for most of his life. He became part of the vibrant community of black artists who drove the Harlem Renaissance – his contemporaries included Zora Neale Hurston, Countee Cullen, Wallace Thurman, and more. –