Simple Speaks His Mind. (Inscribed)
Presentation copy from one Harlemite to another
First edition of this first collection of the “Simple” short stories written about the everyday lives of Harlemites. Given by Hughes, in the year of publication, to his dentist, another Harlemite: “Inscribed especially for my friends, the Tom Johnsons, with continued good wishes — Sincerely, Langston. New York, April 10, 1950.”
According to census records, between the 1920s and 1930s, Thomas O. Johnson (b. 1894) and Anna Johnson (b. 1892) lived and worked at 207 West 138th Street. (Hughes had also lived on West 138th Street.) The Johnsons lived with their son, Thomas Jr., and Junior’s grandfather, McPherson Johnson, and his great-grandmother, “Sabanah” (likely Savannah) Johnson (b. 1849). Both senior family members migrated north from Georgia.
“I live in the heart of Harlem. I have also lived in the heart of Paris, Madrid, Shanghai, and Mexico City. The people of Harlem seem not very different from others, except in language. I love the color of their language; and, being a Harlemite myself, their problems and interests are my problems and interests.” (from About the Author)
Description: Simple Speaks His Mind. (Inscribed)
New York: Simon & Schuster, (1950). First edition. Bookplate. Publisher’s binding with tape shadow to spine. Very good in a fair illustrated dust jacket with library label to spine and inexpert internal tape mends.
Note. Within another inscribed book from the collection of Anna and Thomas O. Johnson, Simple Takes a Wife (1953), Hughes described the couple as “friends of long standing (and one of the reasons I love Harlem)...” Blockson Catalogue 6379. Dickson 19. Bruccoli & Clark III:163. bcj 332896 wq10