Drums in the Global Village: Langston Hughes, war correspondent, part 2

Continuation from part I

Langston Hughes

Langston Hughes

The following is the continuation of the excerpt of the first Hughes Spanish Civil War article the The Afro printed: ‘Hughes Bombed in Spain: Tells of Terror of Fascist Raid,’ October 23,1937:

“Being very tired, I slept soundly without dreaming. The next thing I knew, the telephone was ringing violently in the dark, the siren screaming its long blood-curdling cry again, and the walls of the building shaking.

BOOM! Then the dull roar of a dying vibration. And another BOOM! Through my window I saw a flash of light. I didn’t stay to look again. Down the hall I went, clothes in my arms, sensing my way toward the staircases in the dark.

This time the air raid was on for sure. When I got to the lobby, the same people as before were gathered there in various stages of dress and undress. Children crying, women talking hysterically, men very quiet. Nobody went out on the balcony now.

In the street an ambulance passed, its bell ringing into the distance. The anti-aircraft guns kept up their rapid fire. The last BOOM of the enemy bombs was a long way off. The planes, with their cargo of death partially emptied, were driven away. But for a long time nobody left the lobby.

When I went back to bed, dawn was coming in at my open window. Below, in the cool light, the rooftops of Barcelona were grey and lonely. Soon a little breeze blew in from the sea and the red of the rising sun stained the sky. I covered up my head to keep out the light, but I couldn’t go to sleep for a long time.

(Todd Steven Burroughs, Ph.D., a student of Black media history, is a lecturer in the Communication Studies Department at Morgan State University, a historically Black university in Baltimore. He is co-editor, along with Jared Ball, of the new book A Lie of Reinvention: Correcting Manning Marable’s Malcolm X and co-author, with Herb Boyd, of the book Civil Rights: Yesterday and Today. He is working on a biography of imprisoned journalist Mumia Abu-Jamal.)