Langston Hughes

Length: 4 Pages 1066 Words

As a talented American author, Langston Hughes captured and integrated the realities and demands of Africa America in his work by utilizing the beauty, dignity, and heritage of blacks in America in the 1920s. Hughes was reared for a time by his grandmother in Kansas after his parents’ divorce. Influenced by the poetry of Paul Laurence Dunbar and Carl Sandburg, he began writing creatively while still a boy. Not only did Hughes suffer from poverty but also from restrictions that came with living in a segregated community. While he attended an integrated school, he was not permitted to play team sports or join the Boy Scouts. Even his favorite movie theater put a sign that read “No Colored Admitted.” In spite of these obstacles, Hughes developed a natural sense of self-confidence and hope. His grandmother always lived as a free woman and was insistent about standing up for the right of all people to be free. Under her influence, Hughes learned to endure the hardships of prejudice without surrendering his dignity or pride. (Berry 7) “My father hated Negroes,” Hughes wrote, “I think he hated himself, too, for being a Negro.” Hughes wanted to attend Colombia University and needed his father’s financial aid Continue...


His father refused because he wanted Hughes to study engineering. He defined a black beauty in which he interpreted and recorded the lives of the common black folk. He created a body of work-poetry, fiction, journalism, essays, plays, and song lyrics-that reflected on the black experience and informed white Americans about racial issues. Seeing his son's determination, he finally agreed to help pay his tuition. When Langston Hughes wrote this statement, he was explaining what he tried to do over the course of his career. ("Poets 1) "My seeking has been to explain and illuminate the Negro condition in America and obliquely that of all humankind. (Chow 1) When he took a job as a seaman aboard an old ocean liner, Hughes marveled at the vitality and diversity of African tribal culture, but he also saw how the continent was exploited and poverty-stricken by the European colonial powers. It gave African Americans a novel pride in all things black and a cultural confidence that stretched beyond the borders of Harlem to other black communities in the Western world. He crossed color barriers to gain widespread popularity. Hughes' time in Africa was inspirational, resulting in several poems condemning white colonialism or celebrating black unity and beauty. Through his writings, Hughes enhances our love of humanity, our vision of the just society with a spiritual transcendence, and broadens the horizons of joy and hope. To Hughes, even when an ordinary person sang, danced, or worked; they were likely to be making beauty. He always sought to speak to all Americans, especially on the larger issues of social, economic, and political justice.