Acclaimed Chautauqua historical interpreter Charles Everett Pace will portray American humorist and poet Langston Hughes Thursday as part of East Central University’s 17th Annual Literary Arts Festival.

Pace will be appearing in “On the Road with Langston Hughes” from noon to 1:15 p.m. at the Ataloa Theatre inside the Hallie Brown Ford Fine Arts Center on the ECU campus.

Hughes was the first African American writer to make his living exclusively from his writing. He demonstrated how humor can be marshaled as an effective tool of education, entertainment and social critique. Pace, a performance scholar-artist, is one of the nation’s leading solo historical performers. His body of work explores how African American leaders have helped to advance democracy in America. Pace illustrates some of the successful strategies that African American leaders have used to overcome the obstacles of race, caste, class and gender in American society.

Pace was one of the featured Chautauqua performers at the second Presidential Debate between President Obama and Republican Presidential nominee Mitt Romney at Hoftsra on Oct. 15. He appeared as W.E.B. Du Bois.

Seating in front of the orchestra pit area is limited to high school students and teachers, who are paying an advanced fee that covers the entire itinerary, including the breakout sessions and general session with Pace.

The mezzanine will be open for campus and community free of charge for the general session at noon.