overview

Many New York City public schools are named in honor of prominent figures in American and world history.

Langston Hughes Public School 233, in Brooklyn, inadvertently honors an LGBT individual.

Header Photo
Credit: Google Maps.

History

Many New York City public schools are named in honor of prominent figures in American and world history. The NYC LGBT Historic Sites Project compiled a list of the 25 public schools named after gay men, lesbians, and bisexuals, although only one — Harvey Milk High School — intentionally honors an LGBT individual. This list includes Langston Hughes Public School 233, in Brooklyn, which opened in 1930 and was likely renamed for Hughes in 1967.

African-American poet and writer Langston Hughes (1901-1967) was one of the foremost figures of the Harlem Renaissance, which promoted Black art and culture. His lifelong fascination with Harlem is evident in much of his writing, which often features the neighborhood and the people he encountered there. He would later be referred to as the “Poet Laureate of Harlem.” Though private about his personal life, he is generally believed to have been gay. He was an active participant in the gay social circles of the Harlem Renaissance and included homosexual subtext in his writing.

Hughes is associated with several sites in Harlem featured on this website, including his residence, the Harlem YMCA, the 135th Street Branch of the New York Public Library, and Gumby Book Studio.

Building Information

  • Architect or Builder: William H. Gompert
  • Year Built: 1928-30

Sources

  1. Arnold Rampersad, The Life of Langston Hughes: Volume II: 1941-1967, I Dream a World, second edition (New York: Oxford University Press, 2002).

  2. Audre Lorde, I Am Your Sister: Black Women Organizing Across Sexualities (New York: Kitchen Table: Women of Color Press, 1986).

  3. Jennifer Schuessler, “Langston Hughes Just Got A Year Older,” The New York Times, August 9, 2018.

  4. “Langston Hughes,” LGBTQA Resource Office, University of Illinois–Springfield, bit.ly/2fjpOoG.

  5. Marjorie Pearson, Langston Hughes House Designation Report (New York: Landmarks Preservation Commission, August 11, 1981).

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LGBT-Named Public Schools

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