The Forgotten Dreams of Langston Hughes

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All Langston Hughes ever wanted was for people to have their dreams accomplished and the motivation to bring change forward. However, Hughes’ dreams almost came tumbling down for speaking out in one of his poems like he typically does. In 1940, Hughes had been investigated by the FBI following the release of his poem “Goodbye Christ”. Numerous accusations had arisen, stating Hughes “…[was a] member of the Communist Party, [ran] for public office, called for a race war, married a white woman, and studied Communism in the U.S.S.R.” (Dyson, p. 45, 2002). Although it looked as if Hughes’s days with the rest of society were numbered, Hughes made sure that his dreams were not forgotten. Hughes continued to write poetry during this difficult time period which included his poem “A Dream Deferred”. Hughes realized that when he wrote this poem, it had to be worded in a way that would get his message across while not raising any red flags. Even though his poem would get published, the publishers who helped Hughes had gotten fired (Miller, n.p., 2012). When Hughes was ordered to appear before the Committee of Un-American Activities in 1953, he looked to ensure that he would not end up in jail without abandoning his ideals. Hughes then released a statement regarding himself and his poetry saying that he believes “‘…in an America that changes as Americans want it to change’” which is exactly what is reflected in “A Dream Deferred” (Dyson, p. 45, 2002). When looking into the past events Hughes encountered prior to “A Dream Deferred” being published, it is evident that one can see the importance of pursuing dreams. People will try to get in the way of achieving dreams, whether it be Hughes’s, Harlem’s, of the African-American communit... ... middle of paper ... ...k down upon. In other words, the idea of what Harlem was and what it could have been “exploded” in nearly everyone’s mind. However, as Harlem began to spiral downward, Hughes looked to pick Harlem back up. In 1951, in the midst of chaos in Harlem, Hughes published his poem “A Dream Deferred” in hopes to call people’s attention to the devastating effects Harlem was experiencing. Although issues regarding racism began to be addressed in the 1960’s, Harlem continued to fall apart. It wasn’t until the 1980’s that Harlem would begin to get back up off its feet. Patrols began increasing to deter crimes and retail stores began to gradually open up as seen with 65 East 125th Street. However, even though Harlem had begun undergoing a process of gentrification, for every step forward time had gone for the previous fifty years, it seemed as if Harlem took two steps back.

In this essay, the author

  • Analyzes how langston hughes' dreams came to a halt after being investigated by the fbi after his poem "goodbye christ". hughes continued to write poetry during this difficult time period.
  • Analyzes how hughes's goal was to get people to realize the importance of races coming together in his poem "i, too".
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