Langston Hughes

Hughes in 1936, photographed by Carl Van Vechten

Birth Name: James Mercer Langston Hughes

Date of Birth: February 1, 1902

Place of Birth: Joplin, Missouri, U.S.

Date of Death: May 22, 1967

Place of Death: New York City, New York, U.S.

Ethnicity: African-American, some English

Langston Hughes was an American poet, social activist, playwright, novelist, and columnist.

Langston was the son of Carolina Mercer and James Nathaniel Hughes.

Langston had evidently stated that his great-grandfather, Silas Quisenberry/Cushenberry, was Jewish. This does not appear to have been true. The Quisenberry or Cushenberry family of Kentucky is not Jewish.

Langston had also evidently stated that he had Native American ancestry. It is not clear if this Native American ancestry has been verified/documented.

Langston’s paternal grandfather was named James Henry Hughes (the son of Sam Clay and Kittie). James was born in Kentucky.

Langston’s paternal grandmother was named Emma Emily Quisenberry/Cushenberry (the daughter of Silas Quisenberry/Cushenberry). Emma was born in Kentucky.

Langston’s maternal grandfather was Charles Henry Langston (the son of Ralph Quarles and Lucy Jane Langston). Charles was born in Virginia. Ralph was the son of William Quarles and Mary Mills. Lucy was the daughter of Martha Langston.

Langston’s maternal grandmother was Mary Sampson/Jane Patterson (the daughter of James Patterson and Joanna/Johanna Waldon/Simpson). Mary was born in North Carolina.

Sources: Genealogies of Langston Hughes –

Genealogy of Langston Hughes (focusing on his mother’s side) –


Curious about ethnicity

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