Fine Clothes to the Jew

While Langston Hughes’ first book The Weary Blues received great acclaim, his second book of poetry Fine Clothes to the Jew was not so fortunate when it was published in 1927. Although well received by the literary magazines and white press, the book received criticism for not being supportive enough of the Black community and experience. Contemporary critics called it full of “the gutter and the sewer”. Langston, on the other hand, felt he was writing about the real life of his friends and family.

The controversial title of this book, Fine Clothes to The Jew, was common slang in Harlem, New York at the time. In essence it meant, when you needed money, you brought your best clothes to a Jewish pawnbroker where you’d get the most possible for the trade.

Title: Fine Clothes to the Jew
Published: 1927
Genre: Collections