Harlem Nights in Pawtucket

The Langston Hughes Community Poetry Reading is about more than poetry, and more than Langston Hughes – it is about the impact each force has had, and continues to have, on the “Beloved Community” around us.

Headquartered in Rhode Island because of the fateful migration of the famed Harlem poet’s work, papers and legacy to Providence many decades ago, the organization holds a massive poetry reading event in early February every year. Recently, they also conducted their first official fundraiser, Harlem Nights, a 1920s-themed blow out at Machines with Magnets on Saturday, November 18.

Fedoras, feathers and flappers adorned the full house as jazz was played and speeches alternated with poetry readings and songs, including presentations by RI Foundation president David Cicilline and PVD Art, Culture and Tourism director Joe Wilson Jr, as well as project leaders April Brown and Kai Cameron, musician Chachi Carvalho, singer Alisha Pina and many more local performers with the gifts to hold the attention of a feisty, standing-room-only crowd.


“Rhode Island and Providence are a rich fabric of cultural corridors and overlapping narratives,” said Joe Wilson Jr in the event’s opening remarks. “Our founders meant for all to be welcome who were not welcome anywhere else. We are composed of rich cultural neighborhoods that need to be celebrated. We need to support Broad St the way we do downtown… We are the creative capital, and we need to support the creatives in our capital – our cultural assets – and that is what we are doing here tonight. This organization celebrates the late Langston Huges, forever poet laureate of Harlem who united people of all races, creeds, backgrounds, professions and abilities. It ignites discussions of art, culture, community and equity,” 

The past was alive at this event, but a bright future was clearly foremost on everyone’s mind. You can catch the main poetry reading on February 4, 2024 – see for details or to make a donation.