Langston Hughes Research Paper

25296 Words Feb 18th, 2013 102 Pages
In 1919, when Langston Hughes was seventeen years old, he spent the summer with his father, Jim Hughes, in Toluca, Mexico. Langston had not seen his father since he was a small child, and he was excited about making the trip. However, during this visit, no affectionate bond would develop between Langston and Jim. Jim Hughes was a cold, difficult man, who was driven by ambition to make money and achieve respect. He had moved to Mexico to avoid segregation and racial injustice in the United States. As the manager of an electric company and owner of a ranch and mines, Jim expressed contempt for black Americans who continued to submit to segregation and live in poverty.

Langston Hughes, 1933 (Library of Congress)

Langston was not ashamed
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He carefully broke the scraps into short pieces so that embers would not fall on the floor and start a fire.

Bitter over her failed marriage and tired after a long day at work, Carrie could become irritable and short-tempered. She often scolded Langston, and if he hung his head and didn't respond, she would add, "You're just like Jim Hughes … [he's] a devil on wheels!" Then, to salve her conscience over losing her temper, she would take Langston to a movie, where they sat in a segregated section of the balcony.

She also took him to the public library, where he discovered the magic of reading. He loved the library's familiar "bookish" smell, the long, polished tables, and helpful librarians. Curiosity about the story inside a book's attractive cover encouraged him to read at an early age. Langston loved to hold a book and examine the artist's illustrations. Through adventures in books, he escaped his lonely, restricted life.

Because the school for black children in Topeka was across town, Carrie enrolled Langston in first grade at the all-white Harrison Street School, which was within walking distance of their apartment. At first, the principal refused to admit him, but Carrie took her argument before the Topeka school board and won. Langston's teacher resented having to teach one small black boy and told other students, in his presence, that

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