Langston Hughes and Harlem Renaissance

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The Harlem Renaissance brought a new and fresh beginning for many African Americans. A significant change in the culture occurred, from new visual art to jazz music, fashion, and literature. During the 1900’s, many African Americans started moving from the south to the north and this migration is known as the Great Migration. Many of them settled in a fairly small section of New York, called Harlem. Harlem became known for its creation of the blues, jazz, and gave birth to a new generation of Negro Artist, called the New Negro which was the foundation for an era called the Harlem Renaissance. The Harlem Renaissance allowed African Americans to have a desire of cultural and social redemption through their own literary works of art since slavery. Many great writers came about during this time, one of which was Langston Hughes. Langston Hughes created poetry that was not only artistically and musically, but also captured a blues essence giving his poetry a new style of writing during the Harlem Renaissance era. Hughes’s poems depict the African American struggles with self and the society, leading him to be one of the most influential icons of the Harlem Renaissance with poetry that is direct, comprehensible, and signifying simplicity. Hughes’s poems “Negro,” “The Negro Speaks of Rivers,” and “I, Too” illustrate how Hughes wrote his poetry as a means of exploring different geographical settings in order to show the significance of history, heritage, and identity to the lives of African Americans in a segregated environment. Langston Hughes was one of the most influential writers during the Harlem Renaissance. His poetry echoes the voices of ordinary African Americans and the rhythms of their music. With the use of blues and Jazz... ... middle of paper ... ... too, sings America. He is the “darker brother” (line 2) who is sent to eat in the kitchen when there are guests visiting. However, he does laugh and he eats well and grows bigger and stronger. He knows that tomorrow, he will sit at the table when the guests come, and no one will dare to tell him to eat in the kitchen. They will see his beauty and be ashamed for everything that they have done because “I, too, am America” (line 18). During this time when this poem was written, Blacks were discriminated against, killed violently, and separated from using the same facilities and being in the same place as whites. The division between whites and blacks was clearly prevalent and the United States of America was a racially discriminatory society reinforced by its racist laws. Hughes creates the argument that although he is Black, he is still just as American as any other.
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