Langston Hughes studied engineering at Columbia University because his father didn't think he could earn a living as a writer, but he never stopped writing. In addition to his poetry, he wrote plays, essays and novels as well as operas and musicals. He also edited a number of anthologies.
Hughes reads one of the poems for which his is most famous, "The Negro Speaks of Rivers."
I've known rivers: I've known rivers ancient as the world and older than the flow of human blood in human veins. My soul has grown deep like the rivers. I bathed in the Euphrates when dawns were young. I built my hut near the Congo and it lulled me to sleep. I looked upon the Nile and raised the pyramids above it. I heard the singing of the Mississippi when Abe Lincoln went down to New Orleans, and I've seen its muddy bosom turn all golden in the sunset. I've known rivers: Ancient, dusky rivers. My soul has grown deep like the rivers.