Langston Hughes Biography

Improved Essays
During the Harlem Renaissance, Langston Hughes was a prevalent author who voiced the struggles of African Americans through his work. His stories and poems were an outlet in which he painted a vibrant picture of the daily experiences of African Americans. Hughes lures readers in with his firsthand outlook on the endeavors of those sharing his heritage and background.
Racism is widely known, but Hughes takes readers to a personal level as he describes his everyday experiences with it. He frequently discusses the inequality that he has been faced with throughout his writing. He chooses to identify with blacks because he understands their struggle and wanted to encourage them to embrace their skin color as beautiful. Though faced with tough
…show more content…
Hughes was unapologetically black and a highly acclaimed author in a time that society was built mostly around whites. In 1929, he published his first novel which provided enough stability for him to make it as writer. He continued writing poetry, books, and working on an autobiography. In the 1940s, he wrote for a newspaper column in which he focused on a character he created nicknamed "Simple", a stereotypical poor black man living in Harlem, New York. This series was very prosperous, leading Simple to become a reoccurring character in future plays and stories by Hughes. (Langston …show more content…
He was cremated and his ashes were spread under the entrance for a black culture research center in Harlem. There is a sign marking the spot that reads, "My soul has grown deep like the rivers.", an excerpt from a poem of his. His former home is a national landmark that is still visited by many today. People from all walks of life continue to take inspiration from his works. Despite the decline of plaudits received in his later years and some criticism faced for his work, it is overall something that proved to be influential and significant beyond its time. Many felt empowered by and found strength in the words that he wrote. (Langston Hughes Biography)

Langston Hughes was a key player in the Harlem Renaissance movement. His literary work provided a voice for struggling African Americans and drew attention to the problem, rather than brushing it under the rug. Although some aspects of his poetry can be seemingly negative, he was an influential writer as he produced a big driving force behind the civil rights movement and empowerment of race. He fully advocated for social justice despite the tough times he was put up against. Though Hughes was constantly faced with great difficulties, he used his personal struggles to empower fellow civil rights activists and make a change

Related Documents

  • Improved Essays

    Thanks to his grandmother, he was very prideful of his ethnicity, although it was not exactly popular at the time. In general, Hughes wrote about the working-class African Americans; he addressed their struggles and also the joy in their lives. He wrote novels, poems, plays, and short stories, of which each of them told a different story and delivered a different message to the reader. Hughes was quoted saying, "My seeking has been to explain and illuminate the Negro condition in America and obliquely that of all human kind," meaning his goal was to shed light on the reality of racism in America and to specifically acknowledge the unfair treatment portrayed in the stories and how it is relevant in real life (Wikipedia.com). He felt he had to share the brutal reality of being ethnically different.…

    • 1275 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Superior Essays

    Despite all the racism at that time, Hughes was able to successfully start his writing career by writing about black culture. In his works, he tried to write to inspire the black community to express themselves through mediums such as writing, music, and other artistic ways. In fact, Hughes was a major influence in shaping the artistic culture of the Harlem Renaissance, which gave a rise to many black writers, because he wrote poems about poverty and inequality. Because of his background, he wanted to let black people know that even in the midst of the racism they can still dream and accomplish whatever they wanted to. Hughes probably died a happy man knowing that he gave hope to many people in dire need of…

    • 1651 Words
    • 7 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Great Essays

    Black Art Poem Analysis

    • 1329 Words
    • 6 Pages

    The father of the Black Arts Movement is Amiri Baraka. He got this name because he wrote so many essays, poems, and plays about racial issues in Harlem. In the time there was a lot of racial injustice of African Americans civil rights. Baraka’s most known piece that he has written is his poem called “Black Art.” His works such as “Black Art” and many others have been centered around the lack of civil rights for black people. Baraka works can be interpreted in so many ways because it incites the readers to analyze his work as they read.…

    • 1329 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Great Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Coates not only read poetry by a wide array of black poets from Ethelbert Miller to Carolyn Forche, but he also wanted to master “the craft of writing as the art of thinking”(51). By reading and writing poetry as well as engaging himself in the black poetry community, Coates began to see “discord, argument, chaos, perhaps even fear, as a kind of power”(52). This exemplifies how black narratives such as poetry and Hip-hop empowered him and helped him understand further how the black body and the black mind are entrapped in the American society. This meditation through poetry propels Coates’ questioning of how “the Dream is the enemy of all art, courageous thinking and honest writing”(50). Since the dream is fueled by generalizations, black poetry’s simplicity and truthfulness defies that.…

    • 1513 Words
    • 7 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    The inspiration behind Langston Hughes poetry was the racial conflict going on at the time of the Harlem Renaissance. Hughes took his poetry and voiced his opinion on politics, current events, and his thoughts about what an American should be. The contradiction of being both black and American was a significant one for Hughes. Although this anomaly was troublesome, his situation as such granted him an almost desired status. Due to his place as a black American poet, his work was all the more accessible.…

    • 1035 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Although Langston Hughes wrote both poems there are many differences. As “Negro” is centered around what has happened and what has been done to African Americans in the past “Harlem” focuses on the equality’s African Americans long for. Through the use of literary elements such as, similes, diction, imagery and tone Hughes is available to fully portray the themes of both poems to readers clearly. In both poems Hughes wanted to clearly identify the purpose of his poems so readers truly understood the barriers African Americans went through. Foremost the themes of both poems go to show that when race is involved in dreams they can be challenging to achieve, without a fight hopes and ambitions would be nothing but a…

    • 829 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    It was rough being African American in a time like the 1940’s, especially in the United States. Langston Hughes, however, knew how to turn those hardships into poetry. Hughes was a strong believer of equality, and he expressed this in his poems. Because he grew up as an African American during the time of segregation in the United States and not only saw but experienced first hand the many acts of unkindness done to African Americans, Langston Hughes’s “I, Too” has a universal theme of racial equality. Langston Hughes could accredit much of his success to his early years of high school and college.…

    • 786 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Superior Essays

    These African American literary writers have made an impact on the way our society view racial inequality. Langston Hughes is a famous poet who will be remembered forever and has made an effective impact on the African American society but I feel like D.E.B Dubois has made an even bigger impact. I feel like D.E.B Dubois stands out more in society because of his accomplishments in his work and through his life. The book “The Souls of Black Folk” really sends a strong message to its readers with the terms he uses such has the color line, the veil, and double conciseness. Not only does his book stand out but his strong background with a PhD degree from Harvard University and him becoming the leader in the Niagara Movement in 1905 and him helping form the National Association for the Advancement of Colored…

    • 1382 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Tactics Of Malcolm X

    • 1032 Words
    • 5 Pages

    Through the help of Ali, black pride was able to be shown to the public by a figure most looked up to; gaining greater acceptance and sympathy for the cause. X also became an iconic role model for blacks youths due to his actions taken up in keeping the black ghettos in the public eye. By doing so, more blacks joined the cause allowing for further activity to be noticed by white governments. X himself was raised in a black ghetto in harlem which lead to further crime and his arrestment in 1946. In jail, the library became his sanctuary where he read vigorously, educating himself in not only literature but political affairs.…

    • 1032 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    The Poetry Foundation has and autobiography on Hughes and in it is says “Nevertheless, Hughes, more than any other black poet or writer, recorded faithfully the nuances of black life and its frustrations. Although Hughes had trouble with both black and white critics, he was the first black American to earn his living solely from his writing and public lectures. Part of the reason he was able to do this was the phenomenal acceptance and love he received from average black people” (Poetry 1). This speaks volumes because even though Hughes was knocked down and struggled throughout his life and career he still managed to bring attention to key issues and African Americans were thankful for that. He started out in the Harlem Renaissance speaking out and gaining attention to the inequalities and then shifted to a Marxist approach and spoke out about capitalism, but in each areas he was…

    • 1261 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Improved Essays