Langston Hughes, for instance, was one of several well-known people who originally hailed from Joplin. Hughes was born in 1902 in a house at the southwest corner of 16th and Missouri. Actually it was probably more like a shack, since, at the time, the nearby area was a mining field, and most of the homes in the area were hastily thrown-up shanties that the miners lived in. Hughes's father, though, wasn't a miner as such. He worked for a mining company, but he held an office job.
An older brother of Langston Hughes who died in infancy about the time Langston was born is buried at Fairview Cemetery, located on Joplin's Maiden Lane.
The Hughes family moved away from Joplin a year or so after Langston was born, about the time a black man was lynched in the town. In fact, the lynching was probably the impetus for the move, since many black families fled Joplin at that time.
In the 1970s the city of Joplin voted to rename Broadway Street after Langston Hughes, but not until after some controvery. There were those in the community who accused Hughes, based on some of his writings, of being a communist and such as that. There were also those who didn't like the proposal to rename the street Langston Hughes Boulevard, because they didn't want to abolish the old name "Broadway." A compromise was reached, and the street was renamed Langston Hughes Broadway. Today everyone, or almost everyone anyway, readily accepts the idea of having a street in Joplin named after Langston Hughes, but most locals still just call it Broadway.