Heretic, Rebel, a Thing to Flout: Langston Hughes—The Prophetic Poetic Voice of the Black Experience. For many folks Langston Hughes is THE great African American Poet. Certainly he was a break out star who won wide audiences among both Blacks and Whites with gritty yet lyrical poems that unflinchingly cast a light on the Black experience—and his personal experience—in America. In doing so he opened the doors for others. Hughes was born in Joplin, Missouri on February 1, 1902.