Langston Hughes, An American Poet Essay

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James Mercer Langston Hughes was one of the most influential African-American writers during the Harlem Renaissance. He was born on February 1, 1902 in Joplin, Missouri to James and Carrie Mercer Hughes. Hughes parents divorced shortly after his birth and his father moved to Mexico. Hughes went to live with his grandmother, Mary Patterson Langston in Kansas while his mother travelled back and forth with jobs. After his grandmother died he went to live with friends of the family, James and Mary Reed for two years. Hughes attended school at Central High School in Cleveland, Ohio. He started writing while he was in the eighth grade, during which he was selected as Class Poet. Langston Hughes went on to be one of the greatest African-American …show more content…
Influenced by writers such as Paul Lawrence Dunbar, Carl Sandburg, and Walt Whitman, Hughes continued to write while attending high school. He wrote a number of poems and short stories for the school paper. It was during this time that Hughes came to realize what type of poetry he wanted to write. Instead of traditional verse Hughes used the free verse style of poetry which was used by a couple of his favorite poets Carl Sandburg and Walt Whitman. While in Mexico with his father, Hughes sent three of the poems he had written to a publishing company in New York for black children called Brownies’ Book. One of the three poems was published making it his first to appear in a publication that reached a large number of readers. Later, his poems, short plays, essays, and short stories appeared in the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) publication Crisis Magazine and in Opportunity Magazine and other publications. One of Hughes' finest essays appeared in the Nation in 1926, entitled The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain.
Hughes early inspiration for writing came from the loneliness of his childhood. He did not have a stable family life as a child. Once his parents divorced and he went to live with his grandmother, he was very lonesome and unhappy. His grandmother was about 70 years old when Langston first went to live with her. While living with her he lived a sheltered life. Once his grandmother died, he went to live with James and Mary
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