The Life and Works of Langston Hughes

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LANGSTON HUGHES

James Mercer Langston Hughes was most commonly known as Langston Hughes. He was an African American writer in the 1920’s which at the time was very difficult because of all the racial discrimination. He is mostly known for being an influential figure in the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920’s. Langston Hughes had a difficult childhood, however, he overcame his struggles and became the famous Renaissance poet that people know him for today and that future generations will also.

Langston Hughes was born on February 1, 1902. He was born in Joplin Missouri. His parents were James Hughes and Carrie Langston, however, they got divorced when Langston Hughes was very young. When his parents got divorced his father moved to Cuba and his mother also moved in search for a job. Langston was then raised by his maternal grandmother. She died when he was in his early teens. He then had to live with family friends for around two years. Later he was able to live with his mother since he came back to take care of him and provide a better future for him.

His mother and he had settled in Cleveland, Ohio, when he was first introduced to famous poetry works by his teacher. His teacher introduced to him the poetry of Carl Sandburg and Walt Whitman, who would later become inspiring poetry figures to him. Langston Hughes contributed to his school by writing for the school newspaper, editing the yearbook, and beginning to write his first short stories, poetry, and dramatic plays. "When Sue Wears Red His" was Langston’s first piece of jazz poetry that he wrote it while he was in high school.

"The Negro Speaks of Rivers", was Langston Hughes’s first major published poem which was highly praised. This poem became Langston Hughes's signature...

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...ction. During the twentieth century there were a lot of problems involving the still ongoing perspective that white people were still superior to black people also known at the time negroes. Segregation was still going on involving employment and interracial marriages.

Langston Hughes stated that he based some things from his own memories growing up in Lawrence, Kansas. The book is semi-autobiographical which is dealing partly with the writer's own life but also containing fictional elements. "I wanted to write about a typical Negro family in the Middle West, about people like those I had known in Kansas. But mine was not a typical Negro family." (continuinged.ku.edu). Langston Hughes didn’t try to actually relate his own experiences to the book however also being an African American growing up at the time it was difficult not somehow relating it to himself.

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