He Saw the Sea

April is the month Cultural Gutter writers abandon their usual beat and write about whatever. So I wrote about Langston Hughes’ autobiography, The Big Sea, which deserves to be counted among the great works of travel and adventure literature. And also, how we don’t learn squat in school about brilliant black American artists and thinkers. Also also, Jocko the monkey.

Jocko, the most magnificent of the monkeys, would go on to live in New York at the height of the roaring ’20s before seeking his fortunes further west in the American heartland. After a scandalous incident in which Jocko, out shooting billiards one night with friends, became enraged and defecated all over the pool tables, he settled in Pittsburgh — the last known whereabouts of Jocko to his young friend and traveling companion, Langston Hughes.