Langston Hughes Biography Essay

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1920’s Harlem was a time of contrast and contradiction, on one hand it was a hotbed of crime and vice and on the other it was a time of creativity and rebirth of literature and at this movement’s head was Langston Hughes. Hughes was a torchbearer for the Harlem Renaissance, a literary and musical movement that began in Harlem during the Roaring 20’s that promoted not only African-American culture in the mainstream, but gave African-Americans a sense of identity and pride. Like most, the stories we hear as children leave lasting impacts in our heads and stay with us for lifetimes. Hughes was greatly influenced by the stories told by his grandmother as they instilled a sense of racial pride that would become a recurring theme in his works as well as become a staple in the Harlem Renaissance movement. During Hughes’ prominence in the 20’s, America was as prejudiced as ever and the African-American sense of pride and identity throughout the U.S. was at an all time low. Hughes took note of this and made it a common theme to put “the everyday black man” in most of his stories as well as using traditional “negro dialect” to better represent his African-American brethren. Also, at this time Hughes had major disagreements with members of the black middle class, such as W.E.B. DuBois for trying to assimilate and promote more european values and culture, whereas Hughes believed in holding fast to the traditions of the African-American people and avoid having their heritage be whitewashed by black intellectuals. Of the few short stories penned by Hughes, one that stands out the most was his series of weekly writings from the Chicago Defender in the 1940’s about a middle aged black man and a narrator who would speak on a variety of issu... ... middle of paper ... ...can writers, a guardian of traditional African-American culture, a civil rights activist through his writing and and as the face of the Harlem Renaissance. His importance to not only the Harlem Renaissance but the African-American identity is immeasurable and for that we should be forever grateful and pay him the highest regard. Works Cited "A Centennial Tribute to Langston Hughes." Library System - Howard University. Howard University, n.d. Web. 13 Jan. 2014. Donald, David H. "Good Race Men." Rev. of Short Stories of Langston Hughes. New York Times 01 Sept. 1996: n. pag. Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, Jr. Web. 12 Jan. 2014. Hughes, Langston. Simple's Uncle Sam. New York: Hill and Wang, 2000. Print. "Langston Hughes." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 01 Nov. 2014. Web. 12 Jan. 2014. "Langston Hughes." : The Poetry Foundation. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Jan. 2014.

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