Langston Hughes His views on African-American race/culture and how its social oppression are expressed through his writing
History James Mercer Langston Hughes 1902-Hughes is born on February 1 in Joplin, Missouri. 1921-Plublished first poem in The Crisis magazine 1926-Published first book of poetry, The Weary Blues. 1934/1938-Father and Mother Die. 1940-Plublished, The Big Sea. 1942-1959-Taught at universities and published several novels. 1967-Dies after surgery of infection May 22.
Introduction In the early 1900’s being poor made ordinary day to day living a struggle, even one’s dreams were a flickering candle that was fighting to stay lit. Along with the lower social status, being of African-American descent brought to light how society damages a once attainable goal. One individual silenced many through his creative writing and socially charged subjects with poems such as: “The Weary Blues”, “I, Too” and, “The Negro Speaks of Rivers”
Introduction CONT. The literary works of Langston Hughes are remembered today because of his motivation, perseverance, and most of all the pride he had in his culture that made him adapt and overcome the impossible odds that were facing him to become an influential writer of his time. With the many obstacles one must overcome to navigate through live and be successful it is a great hardship when an individual such as Hughes did not have the proper tools to flourish and let his creative mind help other blacks.
Hughes always wanted to let the world know that he loved where he came from and that he will never be ashamed of his culture. When Hughes wrote “The Weary Blues” the world could see through his writing and knowledge of jazz how he was able to express his love for the black culture Writers such as Longabucco could see how the black culture was held down through Hughes’s writing when he said “The poem has numerous tensions: a contemporary, local setting (it takes place on Lenox Avenue) bears the weariness caused by a long history of oppression…” HUGHES on “the weary blues”
HUGHES “I, TOO” It is ironic that wanting to be a great writer during that time, in a way, meant you wanted to be white because most great influential writers were of white cultural background “I, too” shows vivid imagery and strong echoes that express his feelings towards racism and how society handled it. With the powerful poem of “I, Too”, the thought provoking words Hughes shows how society is still stuck without an open mind
HUGHES“THE NEGRO SPEAKS OF RIVERS” Lastly, one of Hughes most well known poems; “The Negro Speaks of Rivers” which speaks of the African-American culture and its ancestry and shows through his writing that nothing can break the invisible bond that “they” have. It is hard to stay on track and know why one must do the things in life that they are destined to do but Hughes keep his focus clear and concise with this poem as stated by Rampersad, “From the depths of grief the poet sweeps back to life by clinging to his greatest faith, which is in his people and his sense of kinship with them.”
The many struggles that plagued Hughes his entire life such as racial inequality and even being poor, he still managed to produce great works that will remain in literature throughout time, although he was a black poet. Individuals can learn how to adapt and over come from Hughes style of writing and the use of powerful strategically placed words. Summing it up
WHAT CRITICS HAD TO SAY “Hughes, for his part, remained prolific throughout his life, perhaps following the blues ethos of necessary perseverance in adversity that he so often evinced in his work.” Matt Longabucco '“I, Too”…express Hughes’s desire to see unity among people, society equality, economic equality, and cultural equality among the people not only of America, but the world.”
Works Cited Gibson, Donald. Langston Hughes Black GeniusA Critical Evaluation. Ed. Therman B. O’Daniel. New York: Morrow & Company, 1971. Bloom Harold, Cindy, Dyson, Matt Longabucco, Richard K. Barksdale, Arnold Rampersad, and Karen Jackson Ford. Bloom’sBioCritiques.Ed. Harold Bloom. Philadelphia: Chelsea House. Rampersad, Arnold. The Life of Langston Hughes.Vol 1. New York: Oxford, 1986. 2 Vols.