"INSCRIBED ESPECIALLY FOR HENRY": PRESENTATION/ASSOCIATION FIRST EDITION OF TAMBOURINES TO GLORY, INSCRIBED BY LANGSTON HUGHES TO THE NAACP'S POWERFUL DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC RELATIONS, HENRY LEE MOON, A CLOSE FRIEND OF HUGHES, W.E.B. DU BOIS AND OTHER LEADING FIGURES
HUGHES, Langston. Tambourines to Glory. New York: John Day, (1958). Octavo, original black cloth, original dust jacket. $4200.
First edition of one of "Hughes' best plays and the crowning glory of his dramatic career," a key presentation/association copy boldly inscribed by Hughes in his trademark green ink, "Inscribed especially for Henry, Sincerely Langston, New York, August 14, 1962," with the bookplate of Henry Lee Moon, the NAACP's influential director of public relations during "its most turbulent years."
In Tambourines to Glory, Hughes' story of a Harlem storefront church, he achieved his goal of a "theatre of celebration, which presents models for African Americans and entertainment for general audiences without compromising political principles. He also reaffirmed that black music and humor could be effective masks of social protest" (Langston Hughes, Folk Dramatist, 170). Originally drafted as a play by Hughes in the early 1950s, he ultimately issued the unproduced play as a novel, "which prompted the interest of Broadway producers. They brought it to New York in 1963, where its Broadway opening featured gospel singer Clara Ward as Birdie Lie… and Louis Gossett as Big-Eyed Buddy Lomax" (McLaren in Bloom, Langston Hughes, 84-5). Once criticized by members of the black church, it is now "considered to be among Hughes' best plays and the crowning glory of his dramatic career" (Nelson, ed, African American Dramatists, 241). Bruccoli & Clark, 165. Blockson 6533. With the owner bookplate of Henry Lee Moon, who was the NAACP's director of public relations for nearly two decades, and became the organization's powerful and influential voice during "its most turbulent years, when it was campaigning to rid the country of discriminatory laws" (New York Times). A longtime friend of Hughes, Moon also edited the NAACP's magazine Crisis (1965-74) and was a close colleague of W.E.B. Du Bois, editing a major work on Du Bois, and authoring Balance of Power (1948), "the first major book on the electoral dimension of African Americans' political development during the first half of the 20th century" (Kilson, Transformation, 172:17n). Hughes' history of the NAACP, Fight for Freedom, was published the same year as his inscription.
Text very fresh, lightest rubbing to spine ends of fine book; tiny bit of dampstaining to front flap of about-fine dust jacket.