African American History in the Poems of Langston Hughes Essay

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African American History in the Poems of Langston Hughes

Langston Hughes was an African American poet who was one of the first black voices to be heard in America. He was distinct among his contemporaries with his writing about the blacks' experiences and history. His pride of his race and history was apparent in most of his works. In his poem, "The Negro Speaks of Rivers" his pride of his history and civilization is apparent by the repetition of the pronoun "I" in most of the lines. He is proud that his roots go back to the ancient civilizations which where associated with the great Rivers of Asia and
Africa namely the Euphrates, the Nile and the Congo.

Hughes repeats, "I've known rivers" which indicates the connection of
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It was through the black people that the American civilization was built. Since they were the ones who did all the labor in building this country, therefore it was their right to be treated with some respect, dignity and be acknowledged in society.

Hughes tackled the same history of black people in his poem "Mother to
Son", but this time from a different perspective. It is the perspective of a mother narrating to her son her sufferings and her strength in overcoming the hardships she encountered in life. She is telling the son that life for her "ain't been no crystal stair/ It had tacks in it/ And splinters /And boards torn up". The life of this black mother was full of troubles, of white people mistreating her, even raping her. As she was poor and suffering from racial discrimination, she had to work in humiliating jobs in order to earn a little sum of money that does not suffice her needs. She had to be" sometimes goin' in the dark/ where there ain't been no light". This line implies it was not she that was dark, but it was the darkness of horrible deeds of the whites that made her suffer. Nevertheless, she did not give up; instead, she kept struggling and climbing that hard stair of life. Therefore, she is advising her son and encouraging him to have hope and never give up.

Since at earlier times,
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