On February 13, 1943, the fictional character Jesse B. Semple debuted as the protagonist of a new weekly column written by Langston Hughes. Known as Simple, Hughes crafted him to be emblematic of working class African Americans in the mid-20th century. Set in Harlem and published within the pages of the Chicago Defender, Simple stories blended the literary worlds of the Harlem and Chicago Renaissances. Simple Speaks His Mind is the first collected volume of Simple stories, which launched Hughes into literary prominence. Hughes employed the character of Simple to vocalize the everyday experiences of encountering racism in the U.S.