Langston Hughes’s “Thank You, M’am” is a short parable of generosity and compassion. Hughes, a central figure in the Harlem Renaissance, is today best known for his poetry, but his prolific writing spans genres, including drama, essays, and fiction. “Thank You, M’am” is an intimate story of a teenage boy driven to petty crime and the commanding woman who sees him as worthy of maternal care. Frequently anthologized since its initial 1958 publication, “Thank You, M’am” is Hughes’s best-known short story.


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