James Mercer Langston Hughes was an American poet and political activist who is attributed to being one of the major writers in the Harlem Renaissance. The Harlem Renaissance was an artistic movement that started in the 1920s, that celebrated black life and culture.
Langston Hughes is one the most renowned and respected authors of twentieth century America not simply one of the most respected African-American authors, though he is certainly this as well, but one of the most respected authors of the period overall. A large part of the respect and admiration that the man and his work have garnered is due to the richness an complexity of Hughes' writing, both his poetry and his prose and even his non-fictions. In almost all of his texts, Hughes manages at once to develop and explore the many intricacies and interactions of the human condition and specifically of the experience growing up and living as a black individual in a white-dominated and explicitly anti-Black society while at the same time, while at the same time rendering his human characters and their emotions in a simple, straightforward, and immensely accessible fashion. Reading the complexity behind the surface simplicity of his works is at once enjoyable and edifying.
Langston Hughes is an extremely successful and well known black writer who emerged from the Harlem Renaissance (“Langston Hughes” 792). He is recognized for his poetry and like many other writers from the Harlem Renaissance, lived most of his life outside of Harlem (“Langston Hughes” 792). His personal experiences and opinions inspire his writing intricately. Unlike other writers of his time, Hughes expresses his discontent with black oppression and focuses on the hardships of his people. Hughes’ heartfelt concern for his people’s struggle evokes the reader’s emotion. His appreciation for black music and culture is evident in his work as well. Langston Hughes is a complex poet whose profound works provide insight into all aspects of black
Langston Hughes was a poet with many artistic abilities. His writing and drawings established the lifestyles of many African Americans during this time. In a poem called “I, Too” Hughes express his feelings as an African American, a brother, and someone who deserves to fit in society. He states “I, too sing America” (1039). Hughes saw himself as an individual who has a voice in America even though his skin is a little darker. In a poem called “Democracy” Hughes states: “I have as much right as the other fellow has to stand on my own two feet and own the land” (1043). Hughes was speaking for every African American whom were still dealing with segregation, racism, and freedom.
Langston Hughes remains known as the most impressive, durable Negro writer in America. His tone of voice is as sure, and the manner he speaks with is original. During the twenties when most American poets were turning inward, writing obscure and esoteric poetry, Hughes was turning outward using language and themes, attitudes, and ideas familiar to anyone who had the ability simply to read. He often employs dialect distinctive of the black urban dweller or the rural black peasant. Throughout Langston Hughes career, he was aware of injustice and oppression, and used his poetry as a means of opposing them. James D. Tyms says, “Hughes writes lyric poems. But his “lyric” persona is often able to copy this social convention of the Negro Folk. Their use of the method of the ballad, to tell others how they feel” (191). Hughes lived as an
Langston Hughes’ style of poetry renounced the classical style of poetry and sought out a more jazz and folk rhythm style. Most of Hughes’ poems were written during the Harlem Renaissance, named after the cultural activity African Americans participated in, such as: literature, music, art, theatre, and political thinking. William Blake, on the other hand, was a nonconformist who was associated with the leading radical thinkers of his day. Although, considered a lyric poet and a visionary, Blake’s poetry was not read by many, yet he still believed that his poetry could be understood by common people and was determined not to sacrifice his vision to become popular.
Langston Hughes was born on February 2, 1902 in Joplin Missouri, and died on May 22, 1967 in New York, New York. Hughes' African American themes helped to contribute to the Harlem Renaissance in the 1920s, where he was a leader. He attended Columbia University and Lincoln University, published his first poem in 1921 and his first book in 1926. Hughes was a poet, playwright, novelist, and more.
The United States of America is thought to be the “land of the free and the home of the brave” yet nothing here is given. There are no easy ways to be an American. Everyone in our country either had to fight to get here, and stay here or had to fight for something they wanted or believed in.Yes, America does have more opportunities and rights than other countries but they aren’t accessible to everybody. Being an American is having determination, independence and courage to fight for something you want and/or need.
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 is regarded as one of the most significant American authors of the twentieth century. Foremost a poet, he was the first African-American to earn a living solely from his writings after he became established. Over a forty-year career beginning in the 1920s until his death in 1967, Hughes produced poetry, plays, novels, and a variety of nonfiction. He is perhaps best known for his creation of the fictional character, Jesse B. Semple, which first appeared in a Chicago Defender newspaper column in 1943. Hughes’ writings focused mainly on the lives of plain black people and show their beauty, wisdom, and strength to overcome social and economic injustice.
Langston Hughes inspired others to reach their true potential in their work by using their own life as a catalyst:
In exploring the problem of identity in Black literature we find no simple or definite explanation. Nevertheless, it is generally accepted that it is rooted in the reality of the discriminatory social system in America with its historic origins in the institution of slavery. One can discern that this slavery system imposes a double burden on the Negro through severe social and economic inequalities and through the heavy psychological consequences suffered by the Negro who is forced to play an inferior role, 1 the latter relates to the low self-estimate, feeling of helplessness and basic identity conflict. Thus, in some form or the other, every Negro American is confronted with the
According to Biography, James Mercer Langston Hughes is considered to be an African American poet who is college educated and comes from a middle-class family (Langston Hughes Biography). He attended college in New York City and became influential during the Harlem Renaissance (Langston Hughes Biography). Although Hughes was a talented writer, he faced some challenges early on and it was stated that his “early work was roundly criticized by many black intellectuals for portraying what they thought to be an unattractive view of black life” (Langston Hughes. American Poet). They believed that his work helps the spread the stereotypes of African Americans. “Hughes, more than any other black poet or writer, recorded faithfully the nuances of black life and its frustrations” (Langston Hughes. American Poet). Langston Hughes’s poems “The Negro Mother”, “Let America be America Again” and “The Weary Blues” were influenced by his life during the Harlem Renaissance and the racial inequality experienced in the late 1920s through the 1960s.