The Life and Poetry of Langston Hughes

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According to Becky Bradley in American Cultural History, Langston Hughes was born February 1, 1902 in Joplin, Missouri. Growing up, he dealt with some hard times. His parents divorced when he was little and he grew up with neither of his parents. Hughes was raised by his grandmother since his father moved to Mexico after their divorce and his mother moved to Illinois. It was when Hughes was thirteen that he moved out to Lincoln, Illinois to be reunited with his mother. This is where Hughes began writing poetry. However, the family moved again and finally settled in Cleveland, Ohio (Bradley, pars. 1-3).

Author Larry Neal writes that after his high school graduation, he spent a year in Mexico and then spent a year at Columbia University. Hughes moved to Washington, D.C. in November 1924 and two years later his first book of poetry was published. The book was titled, The Weary Blues, and was published by Alfred A. Knopf in 1926. He finally finished college at Lincoln University in Pennsylvania in 1929. Then a year later his first novel, Not Without Laughter, won the Harmon Gold Medal for Literature. Hughes died of prostate cancer on May 22, 1967 in New York. In his memory his residence has been given landmark status. The street he lived on was also renamed after him making it, Langston Hughes Place (Neal, pars. 5-6).

According to Wallace, Langston Hughes, of many poets, became the cultural center of black America, which starts the Harlem Renaissance. The Harlem Renaissance went from the 1920s through the early 1930s. It was a time of rebirth for the black community. Their culture was on the rise with poets, musicians and artists all creating different masterpieces. Segregation was all African Americans have known. ...

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...s it dry up like a raisin in the sun?” became a widely known title to the play, A Raisin in the Sun. Both of these works really though were initially inspired by the Harlem Renaissance. African American artists, musicians and writers came alive to make their culture and people’s voices heard.

Works Cited

Bloom, Harold. Langston Hughes (Bloom's Modern Critical Views). New York: Chelsea House, 2007. Print.

Bradley, Becky. "About this Guide." American Cultural History. Lone Star College-Kingwood, July 2009. Web. 2 Nov. 2009.

Neal, Larry. "Langston Hughes: Black America's Poet Laureate." Gale Cengage Learning. Whitson Publishing Company, 1991. Web. 04 Nov. 2009.

Wallace, Maurice. Langston Hughes: The Harlem Renaissance. New York: Marshall Cavendish Benchmark, 2008. Print.

"Langston Hughes -." Poets.org - Poetry, Poems, Bios & More. Web. 05 Nov. 2009.

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