Langston Hughes liked to compose poetry in night-clubs, where jazz would aid and abet his creativity. His aspiration, he once said, was to convey in words the spirituality he experienced with jazz. He developed a profound appreciation for the African American contribution in this county, but his eloquent writings and prophetic message also spoke universally to the human condition. He strove for beauty; he also was a conscience for the nation and for humanity as a whole. A look at Langston Hughes’ life and poetic power, accompanied at times by jazz.
Rev. Ben Bortin has served as minister at First Unitarian Church of Duluth, Minnesota, and the Unitarian Universalist Church of Staten Island, New York. More recently, between 2007 and 2019, he was the Volunteer and Membership Coordinator at the UU Congregation at Shelter Rock. He also served two terms as President of the UU United Nations Office. He also taught the course, “Religions of the World,” at St. John’s University in Staten Island, NY. Growing up in California, he graduated from the University of California and Starr King School for the Ministry. He currently resides with his wife, Andrea Starr, in Port Washington, New York.