Essay on Langston Hughes

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Langston Hughes

Langston Hughes was one of the first black men to express the spirit of blues and jazz into words. An African American Hughes became a well known poet, novelist, journalist, and playwright. Because his father emigrated to Mexico and his mother was often away, Hughes was brought up in Lawrence, Kansas, by his grandmother Mary Langston. Her second husband
(Hughes's grandfather) was a fierce abolitionist. She helped Hughes to see the cause of social justice. As a lonely child Hughes turned to reading and writing, publishing his first poems while in high school in Cleveland, Ohio. In 1921 he entered Columbia University, but left after an unhappy year. Even as he worked as a delivery man, a messmate on
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Hughes bought a house in Harlem, where he spent the rest of his life. Hughes still feared for the future of urban blacks. His point of view became immense and included another book of poetry, almost a dozen children's books, several opera libretti, four books translated from French and Spanish, two collections of stories, another novel, a history of the NAACP and another volume of autobiography, I Wonder As I Wander (1956). He also continued his work in the theater, pioneering in the gospel musical play. Blues began in the south and slowly made its way into the great cities of the North. As the great migration began people took what they knew in south to the north. This included music. Langston Hughes living in Harlem was caught up in the new rhythm of music and based many of his poems on it. As a boy he remembers hearing the blues perfomed in Kansas City.
"Hughes was fascinated with black music, tried his hand at writing lyrics, and was taken with the possibilities of performing music and poetry together" 4 "Besides having both a love of this music and the common black folk it was created by and for, one of the reasons that Hughes began to draw on the blues tradition for writing his poetry is that he hoped to capitalize on the blues craze." 5Though the markets for music and poetry were quite different, he thought he could

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