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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 too often under-sung African American contribution in this country and the world, 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, with poems accompanied by jazz piano, performed by Larry Bluth. Kelly Schmidt will also be participating in this meeting.
Rev. Ben Bortin has served as minister at First Unitarian Church of Duluth, Minnesota, and the Unitarian Church of Staten Island, New York. More recently, between 2007 and 2019, he served as Volunteer and Membership Coordinator at the Unitarian Universalist 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 is preparing for possible hospital chaplaincy. He resides with his wife, Andrea Starr, in Port Washington, New York.
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