Essay on The Negro Speaks Of Rivers

791 Words May 1st, 2016 4 Pages
“The Negro Speaks of Rivers” written by Langston Hughes is a poem filled with historical significance in African heritage. Hughes narrates the poem linking those of African descent to ancient rivers. The poem holds significant examples of African heritage by the use of mentioning different rivers the Euphrates, Congo, Nile, and Mississippi River and Abraham Lincoln are all used in context to Africans journey to America, slavery, and all the stepping stones along the way.
Hughes wrote “The Negro Speaks of Rivers” in 1920 at the age of seventeen while on a train to visit his father in Mexico. “Hughes was a young man when he wrote this poem. He had not yet been to Africa, and what he presents in “The Negro Speaks of Rivers” is not so much a record of his engagement with the actual continent than it is his meditation on a romanticized, mythic land that has its origins in his own imagination” (Kelley 82). Hughes was inspired to write the poem while passing the Mississippi River. During the 1920’s. Racism was still very alive during the 1920’s although it was a turning point for blacks across the United States. The 1920’s was the start of ideas of Black Nationalism, the Harlem Renaissance, and the Great Migration. The events inspired Hughes to become part of the movement and contributed by writing the poem. The poem is narrated with the use of “I” to represent negeros as a whole race. “Over a period of more than three centuries, in the slave ships of the Middle Passage and the…

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