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Langston Hughes with neighborhood children at the Children’s Garden in Harlem – 1955

Photo by Don Hunstein, 1955
Link to larger image here.

From The Life of Langston Hughes By Arnold Rampersad

In the backyard at 20 East 127th Street, (Mr. Langston’s home) where the lawn in the summer of 1954 was dense and green, a gardener named Mr. Sacred Heart, a follower of the evangelist Father Divine, planted some flowering shrubs. In front of the house, at Langston’s request, someone planted Boston Ivy that crept up the walls and eventually luxuriated, so that everyone knew in which house on the street had lived the poet Langston Hughes. But most of the patch of earth beside the front steps, about six feet square, was barren from years of trampling by neighbourhood children, who had little time for flowers. Langston decided to rescue it, and teach the children a tender lesson at the same time. He named the plot their garden.

From Amy Spingarn’s home upstate in Dutchess County came nasturtiums, asters and marigold. Under his supervision, aided by Mr. Scared Heart, each child chose a plant, set it, and assumed partial responsibility for weeding and watering the garden. On a picket beside each plant was posted a child’s name. Proud of the garden, which flourished, and prouder still of his children, Langston was photographed at least once beaming in their midst.

On August 27, 1954, readers of Meyer Berger’s “Around New York” column in the New York Times learned about the tiny garden planted by neighbourhood children in front of the home of the writer Langston Hughes in Harlem. “The garden’s in full bloom now, mostly with nasturtium, marigold and asters, not one of which has been stolen or torn. Mr. Hughes wishes he’d thought of the name stakes two years ago.”

See information about ‘Life of Langston Hughes’ By Arnold Rampersadhere.

See Wikipedia on poet, writer Langston Hughes here.