Harlem Langston Hughes Summary

At just 51 words in length, Langston Hughes ' poem "Harlem" can be easily overlooked. But there is an underlying aggression to the words of this poem, a frustrated level of turmoil hidden in the words that demands attention and refuses to be ignored. The graphic imagery of a decaying dream is the point of this poem and yet the title is Harlem. Langston was born in Joplin, Missouri, lived in Ohio, in Illinois and even in Mexico for a short time; he pursued higher education going to Lincoln University in Pennsylvania but he chose to write about Harlem, he was often found in Harlem clubs and his poetry heading the Harlem Renaissance, he wrote this grievance letter directed to a place close to his heart. But where did this frustration stem …show more content…
It was around this time that Langston received a review by way of the New York Herald Tribune and commented that Langston “although only twenty-four years old, is already conspicuous in the group of Negro intellectuals who are dignifying Harlem with a genuine art life. Always intensely subjective, passionate, keenly sensitive to beauty and possessed of an unfaltering musical sense, Langston Hughes has given us a ’first book’ that marks the opening of a career well worth watching.” Despite this acknowledgement of both Langston and Harlem 's genius and as if the Great Depression wasn 't bad enough as is, the constant and familiar sirens of Jim Crow (a mostly legal route based on American laws allowing the continuity of unjust privilege for White American supremacy while restraining Black Americans to close on the equality gap in education, political, social status and judicial areas) continued to oppress and restrict Black Americans throughout the country and threatening to extinguish …show more content…
“Harlem” is the poetic work of Langston found in a collection of his; “Montage of a Dream Deferred” published in 1951 where he masterfully and wittingly sums up Black American frustration with those who stand with White American supremacy, the infuriating denial and preservation of Black prejudice and the all too obvious conclusion of it all hidden within the last line of the poem “Or does it explode?” Langston knew that even nearly a century past from the Civil War at the time, with the continued targeting of Black Americans and being treated as inferior, that this was leading to a direct and violent clash with those that oppose equality throughout

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