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The Poet And The Dancer

TUESDAY, FEB. 24, 1998

Tonya Wilson was searching through her late father’s rare book collection to find a way to celebrate Black History Month when she found another piece of history. Inside the cover of Langston Hughes’ “One Way Ticket,” Wilson found the following words: “For Josephine Baker, who brings beauty, laughter, courage and lasting kindness to our troubled land, Sincerely, Langston Hughes, Christmas, 1951, New York.” Inside the second book, “Langston Hughes: Montage of a Dream Deferred,” the famed Harlem Renaissance poet penned another 1951 Christmas wish to the cabaret dancer famous for her Folies Bergeres performance in Paris. The books sat in Wilson’s bedroom for a decade until she came across them two weeks ago. Now they are in Christie’s auction house in New York, where they will be sold May 29.


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