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Langston Hughes and Religion Essay

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Langston Hughes and Religion

Langston Hughes in several poems denounced religion, inferring that religion did not exist any longer. In reading these poems, the reader canes that Hughes was expressing his feelings of betrayal and abandonment, against his race, by religion and the church. Hughes had a talent for writing poems that would start a discussion. From these discussions, Hugh es could only hope for realization from the public, of how religion and the church treated the Black race.

Hughes wrote two poems that generated a lot of discussion about religion and African-Americans. One was “Drama for Winter Night (Fifth Avenue),” the other was “Goodbye Christ.” Once when Hughes was asked about
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In the second poem, “Goodbye Christ,” Hughes shows more examples of the church betraying its mission to help and love all man. Hughes wrote:

Called it Bible—

B ut it’s dead now,

The popes and the preachers’ve

Made too much money from it.

They’ve sold you to too many (5-9)

Most people think religion should be spiritual, a belief in someone or something greater than the believer. Hughes believes the church has betrayed its mission by becomi ng a monetary institute. Even though Hughes is acknowledging the existence of religion he is also saying that the church had become too commercial and money oriented. This thought is exemplified in “Goodbye Christ” when Hughes writes, “Marx Communist Lenin Peasant Stalin Worker ME--“ (22). Here Hughes is saying it’s time for religion to move out and let “ME” become the profiteer. When this poem was written most of the Black race was lower class and did not have a lot of money.

James Emanuel describes how Hughes brought attention to the importance of religion in Black history when he writes, “Religion, because of its historical importance during and after slavery, is an undeniably useful theme. . . . [Hughes, a] writer whose special province for almost forty-five years was more recent Black experience, the theme is doubly vital” (Emanual 914). I agree with James Emanuel. Hughes could
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