Black Americana and Abolition – 31 – Bauman Rare Books - July 2022 Inscribed By Langston Hughes 49. HUGHES, Langston. Simple Speaks His Mind. New York, 1950. Octavo, original green cloth, dust jacket. $4000. First edition of the breakthrough first book in Hughes’ series featuring Jesse B. Simple—“Hughes’ greatest contribution to American culture”—a very scarce presentation copy inscribed: “To F. L. Marry— Sincerely, Langston Hughes.” Jesse B. Semple, nicknamed “Simple,” is widely considered “the most famous character in black fiction.” He is ranked with Huck Finn, and the Simple series of books, which began with this work, is viewed as “Hughes’ greatest contribution to American culture” (Sullivan Harper, 3). Book fine; closed tears to seams of bright nearfine dust jacket. Langston Hughes’ Landmark Work In His Five-Volume Series For Children, The First Book Of Negroes, 1952 50. HUGHES, Langston. The First Book of Negroes. New York, 1952. Square quarto, original green cloth, dust jacket. $1700. First edition of Hughes’ inaugural book in his major five-volume series on Black history from the 16th century to Jim Crow America, the first printing issued at the height of McCarthyism with Josephine Baker’s image and biography, which were quickly omitted from subsequent printings. In this first book of Hughes’ series for children, he “kept clearly in mind the idea that his readers would, more than likely, be the ones to confront their nation’s greatest failure of its democracy, the racial divide, head on. So he wrote in First Book of Negroes (1952) of the noble history of Africans and of the diverse and significant achievements of one African American after another” (Clark, 8). Book fine; very light edge-wear to near-fine dust jacket.