Finding Langston: A Novel by Lesa Cline Ransome

Andrea Staff Image

Finding Langston, a novel by Lesa Cline-Ransome, tells the story of young boy named Langston who travels with his father to Chicago, Illinois during the 1940s within the period known as the great Migration.  7 million African Americans left their homes in the south to find employment and enjoyment in the North.  When Langston’s mother passes away, His father, in need of a clean break from everything that reminds him of his dear dead wife, uproots himself and Langston from their small country town in Alabama.  They move to a run-down tenement building where all the tenants have to share a bathroom.  Langston is happy to have indoor plumbing, not to have to use the outhouse.  But he is bullied in school. His clothes, his mannerisms, even his speech make him a target.  “Big ole Country!”  One day while trying to figure out a bully-less route home from school, he happens upon a library.   Langston remembers His mother told him the public libraries in the South did not let colored people go in, much less borrow books.  But the George Cleveland Hall Library was not in the South.  The whole world or at least understanding of his world and circumstances he has been thrust into are made plain by this building and the namesake works of art that rest in its comfortable halls.

Finding Langston

Discovering a book of Langston Hughes’ poetry in the library helps Langston cope with the loss of his mother, relocating from Alabama to Chicago as part of the Great Migration, and being bullied.