About Langston HughesJames Mercer Langston Hughes known most popularly asLangston Hughes was born February 1, 1902 in Joplin Missouri.He was an American poet, social activist, novelist, playwright andcolumnist. He was also a founding father of the literary art form ofjazz poetry. During the time period of heighten cultural movementin the African American Community in Harlem known as theHarlem Renaissance, Langston wrote some of his most popularwork.
BiographyLangston faced many troubles as an African American man, which were documented in his literary works.Although he faced racism like most African American men did he was a man of mixed decent. His paternal great grandfather was Caucasian and Scottish & his maternal great grandfather was European and Jewish. Langston wrote about being a mixed man in the poem “Mulatto”He spent most of his childhood in Lawrence, Kansas His grandmother instilled a sense of lasting racial pride. After the death of his grandmother, he went to live with family friends, James and Mary Reed, for two years. Because of the unstable early life, his childhood was not an entirely happy one, but it strongly influenced the poet he would become.As an adolescent Langston went to live with his mother. During high school in Cleveland, Ohio, he wrote for the school newspaper, edited the yearbook, and began to write his first short stories, poetry, and dramatic plays. During this time he also wrote "When Sue Wears Red", which was his first literary jazz piece.
Biography Continued Hughes has a poor relationship with his father and one of his most famous poems “ A Negro Speaks of Rivers” was written on a train ride home from visiting his father who had moved to Mexico. Hughes worked various jobs and traveled the world. When he worked at Wardman Park Hotel he met Vachel Lindsay and he shared his poems. Lindsay was impressed and publicized his find. Despite this “big break” Hughes was already published and compiling poems for his first book. On May 22, 1967 Langston Hughes passed away from complications from abdominal surgery in relation to his battle with prostate cancer.
Career Hughes was poem “A Negro Speaks Of In 1934 The Ways of White Folks was Rivers” was1st published in a publication published, It was a combination of short called The Crisis in 1921 stories based on interactions between White and Black people. Created a magazine called Fire! Along with other artist from the Harlem Renaissance In 1947 Hughes taught at Atlanta devoted to younger black artist. University and University of Chicag In 1930 Hughes 2st novel “ Not Without Hughes also co –wrote a screen play call Laughter won the Harmon Gold Medal for The Way Down South literature.
Honors & Accolades•1943, Lincoln University awarded Hughes an honorary Litt.D.•1960, the NAACP awarded Hughes the Spingarn Medal for distinguishedachievements by an African American.•1961 National Institute of Arts and Letters.•1963 Howard University awarded Hughes an honorary doctorate•1973, the first Langston Hughes Medal was awarded by the City College of NewYork.•1979, Langston Hughes Middle School was created in Reston, Virginia.•1981, New York City Landmark status was given to the Harlem home of LangstonHughes at 20 East 127th Street by the New York City Landmarks PrservationCommission and 127th St. was renamed Langston Hughes Place. The LangstonHughes House was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982.•2002 The United States Postal Service added the image of Langston Hughes to itsBlack Heritage series of postage stamps.•2002, scholar Molefi Kete Asante listed Langston Hughes on his list of 100Greatest African Americans.
From a personal prospective Langston Hughes is one of my favorite poets. He is one of the first poets I remember reading and learning about in grade school. He’s left a lasting impression in my spirit to this day. I could and still can sense his pride in his race; his pride contributed to my racial pride. It also helpd inspire me to fulfill my potential due to the sacrifices made by the people in African American history.
As a parting gift from this author presentation I wanted to share my favorite Langston Hughes poem A Dream Deferred Langston Hughes What happens to a dream deferred? Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun? Or fester like a sore– And then run? Does it stink like rotten meat? Or crust and sugar over– like a syrupy sweet? Maybe it just sags like a heavy load. Or does it explode?