W. Jason Miller, “Nina Simone and Langston Hughes: Collaborators Across Genres” | National Humanities Center


W. Jason Miller, “Nina Simone and Langston Hughes: Collaborators Across Genres”

October 6, 2023

The influence that Nina Simone and Langston Hughes have had on American music, literature, and culture can hardly be overstated. However, the relationship between these two figures has received little to no attention from scholars to date, despite their long history of collaboration. W. Jason Miller (NHC Fellow, 2022–23) is conducting research into this partnership in order to inform new understandings about the intersections between art and politics in the Black Arts Movement of the mid-twentieth century.

photo of Jason MillerW. Jason Miller is Alumni Distinguished Undergraduate Professor at North Carolina State University. His work on Martin Luther King, Jr. explores the leader’s relationships with such figures as Langston Hughes and Dorothy Cotton. Never-before-developed photographs have been digitized from original negatives for “When MLK and the KKK Met in Raleigh.” The digital project documents the KKK’s 1,800-person march on the day Dr. King spoke in Raleigh, NC on July 31, 1966. His work on King’s first ever “I Have a Dream” speech, delivered in Rocky Mount, NC nine months before the March on Washington, received worldwide coverage in 2015. Miller’s monographs include Langston Hughes: Critical Lives (Reaktion/University of Chicago Press, 2020), Origins of the Dream: Hughes’s Poetry and King’s Rhetoric (University Press of Florida, 2015), and Langston Hughes and America Lynching Culture (University Press of Florida, 2011). He is a member of the North Carolina State University Research Leadership Academy, Academy of Outstanding Teachers, and Academy of Outstanding Faculty in Extension and Engagement.