Langston Hughes Essay

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James Langston Hughes was born February 1, 1902, in Joplin, Missouri. His parents divorced when he was very small, and his father (who found American racism made his desires to be a lawyer impossible) left the family and emigrated to Mexico. Hughes' mother moved with her child to Lawrence, Kansas, so she and he could live with his grandmother, Mary Langston.
Langston Hughes' mother moved to Topeka in 1907, leaving the five-year-old with his grandmother. Langston came from a family of African-American activists. His mother's first husband had been killed at Harper's Ferry. Her second husband, Charles Langston (Langston Hughes' grandfather), had taken part in political activism on behalf of a slave. Charles Langston's brother, John Mercer
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E. B. Dubois, editor of the The Crisis, the journal that published "The Negro Speaks of Rivers"; and Countee Cullen, a young Harlem poet.
In 1922 Hughes left Columbia University after having taken only a few classes. He moved to Harlem, part of upper Manhattan near the Columbia campus, in November 1924. Harlem was becoming famous for its rich environment for the flowering arts. In 1925 Hughes won first prize in a magazine contest with "Weary Blues," which gained him the attention of many of the writers we now think of as members of the Harlem Renaissance. Hughes published his first book of poems, The Weary Blues, in 1926. The work, though early, is signature in many ways, including its fusion of blues and jazz rhythms with people, especially the musicality of the ordinary daily speech of the African-American dialects.
In 1926 he enrolled at Lincoln University (in a town called Lincoln University, Pennsylvania), where he graduated in 1929, the same year he finished his first novel. After attempting to come to terms with his father's materialism and leaving Harlem, feeling betrayed and misunderstood, Hughes went first to Haiti and then, back in the United States as the Great Depression began to settle in, the travelled through the American south, reading his poetry to people in churches and schools. Following in the footsteps of his grandmother's family, he took his life in his hands by appearing at the University of North

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