As part of Columbus' celebration, “I, Too, Sing America: The Harlem Renaissance at 100,” the Ohioana Library Association will present “From Prison to Prominence: Life & Literary Work of Chester Himes” on Wednesday, Feb. 20, at the new Martin Luther King branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library.

There is perhaps no one more synonymous with the Harlem Renaissance than Langston Hughes, who burst onto the scene of the African-American social and artistic movement in 1921 with his signature poem, “The Negro Speaks of Rivers,” going on to publish more poetry, short stories, essays, plays and novels.

Hughes received numerous literary awards and honorary degrees throughout his storied career. His former home in Harlem has also been designated a historic landmark.

Can you imagine if such a renowned figure co-signed your writing?

For the late Ohio writer Chester Himes, it was a reality. On Nov. 24, 1945, Hughes wrote a letter to the Ohioana Library Association in Columbus about Himes’ work. Established in 1929, the library collects literature solely about or by Ohioans. (While Hughes lived much of his life in Harlem, he attended high school in Cleveland and is featured in the library.)

 Continue reading Erica Thompson's story about the Ohioana Library and Chester Himes at Columbus Alive.