Langston Hughes

By: Karly Richelle Anderson


Langston Hughes was born in Joplin, Missouri on February 1, 1902. He was part of an abolitionist family. Hughes attended Central High School in Cleveland, Ohio, but began writing poetry in the eighth grade, and was selected as Class Poet. His father wasn't very supportive of his writing and encouraged him to get a more practical career. Hughes then attended Columbia University but dropped out with a B+ average. His first published poem was also one of his most famous, "The Negro Speaks of Rivers" and was published in Brownies Book. He was one of the more important writers of the Harlem Renaissance. The Harlem Renaissance was the African American artistic movement in the 1920s that celebrated black life and culture. Hughes was very much against inequality and racism. In all of his writings he promoted and tried to influence people to not go with racism but to go against it. Langston Hughes loved to listen to music. He would Listen to jazz and blues all the time. His first two books reflected on his paasion for the music. He liked to empasize on the lower class black life which unfotuantely led him to receive harsh attacks from the black press. During the World War II Hughes wrote a column for the African American newspaper the Chicago Defender.

Hughes' poems have a strong meaning and really catch the attention of readers. Read the poems below and you will understand how interesting they really are.

As I Grew Older

It was a long time ago.
I have almost forgotten my dream.
But it was there then,
In front of me,
Bright like a sun —
My dream.
And then the wall rose,
Rose slowly,
Between me and my dream.
Rose until it touched the sky —
The wall.
I am black.
I lie down in the shadow.
No longer the light of my dream before me,
Above me.
Only the thick wall.
Only the shadow.
My hands!
My dark hands!
Break through the wall!
Find my dream!
Help me to shatter this darkness,
To smash this night,
To break this shadow
Into a thousand lights of sun,
Into a thousand whirling dreams
Of sun!

Langston Hughes


Children's Rhymes

By what sends
the white kids
I ain't sent:
I know I can't
be President.
What don't bug
them white kids
sure bugs me:
We know everybody
ain't free.

Lies written down
for white folks
ain't for us a-tall:
Liberty And Justice —
Huh! — For All?

Langston Hughes


Jackson, Andrew P.."James Langston Hughes." Red Hot Jazz. 11 Feb. 2009.

“Langston Hughes.” America’s Story. 19 Feb. 2009.

Rampersad, Arnold. “Hughes’s Life and Career.” Modern American Poetry. 1997. 10

Feb. 2009.

Add a New Comment
Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License