Langston Hughes, Prolific Writer of Black Pride During the Harlem Renaissance

1691 Words Jun 25th, 2008 7 Pages
During a time where racism was at its height in America through Jim Crow laws in the South, laws that separated blacks from mainstream white society. Where the notion of “separate but equal” was widely accepted in America, blacks were faced with adversity that they had to overcome in a race intolerant society. They were forced to face a system that compromised their freedom and rights. Blacks knew that equal was never equal and separate was definitely separate (George 8-9). Blacks had to fight for their rights because it wasn’t handed to them. Racism manifested itself on many levels and had to be fought on many levels. This gave rise to influential black leaders in the fight for civil rights. Langston Hughes was one of those black leaders …show more content…
In what way did Hughes express hope and pride in the black community during the time of segregation? Did Hughes ever think a change would come in America?
Hughes wrote a manifesto called “The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain”, which was published in 1926, in the Nation. Here Hughes describes his views for a new direction in black literature and arts. He urges black intellectuals and artists to break away from the standards that the white society set for them. Hughes emphasized the theme that black is beautiful and that we should not be afraid to be ourselves. The first paragraph within “The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain” grabs the readers attention and reveals Hughes stand of keeping and taking pride of the black culture and uniqueness.
One of the most promising of the young Negro poets said to me once, "I want to be a poet--not a Negro poet," meaning, I believe, "I want to write like a white poet"; meaning subconsciously, "I would like to be a white poet"; meaning behind that, "I would like to be white." And I was sorry the young man said that, for no great poet has ever been afraid of being himself. And I doubted then that, with his desire to run away spiritually from his race, this boy would ever be a great poet. But this is the mountain standing in the way of any true Negro art in America--this urge within the race toward whiteness, the desire to pour racial…

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