Langston Hughes Signed Contract with the Dramatists' Guild of the Authors League of America for his Plays
DS - Document SignedLangston Hughes. Signed contract with the Dramatists' Guild of the Author's League of America. Signed "Langston Hughes" above line designated "Author" on the "second day of September, nineteen hundred and thirty five." Measures 8" x 11" inches. The same year Hughes signed with the guild his play Mulatto debuted on Broadway where it ran for 11 months with 373 performances. The Dramatists Guild was founded in 1919 as a professional organization for playwrights, composers and lyricists working in American theater. The organization has worked since to advocate for its members in contract negotiations and other professional matters, giving them much-needed support in a highly competitive industry. Hughes was a prolific playwright through the 1930s with Troubled Island (1936), Little Ham (1936), Emperor of Haiti (1936) and Don't You Want to be Free? (1938). As a black writer in 1935, Hughes' membership in the guild would have provided a level of professional support and advocacy rare for someone in his position. In a 1952 letter to fellow Guild member and playwright Elmer Rice, Hughes wrote, "Negro writers, being black, have always been blacklisted... Only once in a blue moon are any colored writers given an opportunity to do a script and then, usually, with no regularity, and no credits. Like Hollywood, Negroes just simply are not employed in the writing fields in the American entertainment industry." No matter his success, Hughes did not lose sight of himself as an exception to the well-established rule of discrimination and spent his career working toward the advancement of all African Americans. Nick at upper right edge. Fine condition and Hughes signature is in bold black pen.
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