Langston Hughes was a famous poet and writer of the Harlem Renaissance. He was born into poverty in Joplin, Missouri, on February 1st, 1902, to James Nathaniel and Minnie Lou Grant Hughes. His father died when he was still a boy. He spent much of his childhood moving around with family members. Still, he dropped out of school due to financial difficulties at age 14 and took a job as a busboy at an Oklahoma City hotel, where he also started writing poetry.

During his life, he published over forty books of poems, short stories, novels, and plays. Also, he was considered one of the most famous poets of his time by critics and students alike. He was one of the most prominent poets of the Harlem Renaissance movement of the 1920s and 1930s. Although Langston Hughes published fewer than 20 books in his lifetime, he’s one of the most famous poets in American history.

Langston Hughes’s Style of Writing

Langston Hughes has a style, unlike any other poet, giving him a unique voice in the world. He created an emotional connection with all his readers, no matter who they were or where they came from. He is often called one of the founding fathers of both jazz and poetry. His work as a writer on race relations set the tone for African American writing throughout the 20th century.

Some say that he changed black culture forever. His legacy will live on long after he’s gone, and generations will study his works to come because they are timeless pieces of literature. If it weren’t for him, America would have never learned about jazz or blues. He introduced the country to new music genres and opened many avenues of expression for future writers.

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           His writings speak volumes about what it meant to be a black person living in America during those times and what they had to endure. Few words are needed when reading his poetry because the rhythm speaks volumes. With only a few words, Hughes’ creates vivid pictures which can be seen clearly by everyone who reads them.

His poems are said to reach out to readers by connecting with them. Hughes’ poetry may be filled with sadness, but it is also filled with humor and hope. In addition, Hughes would use his own experiences with racism to illustrate the feeling of being black in America. Many say that Hughes could put into words what so many people were thinking about race relations during that time.

In 1932, he wrote his poem “Mother to Son,” which offers advice for black men from mothers who have experienced racism first-hand: Life for me isn’t been no crystal stair. In addition to being an influential writer, he was also an activist who would travel around giving lectures as well as leading protests against injustices against African Americans.

His Writing Career

Although Langston Hughes was born into a poverty-stricken family, yet he was blessed with an intellectual mind as he started writing poetry at a very young age. He produced his first literary piece when he was just fourteen, and at 18, he moved to Chicago, where he joined the city’s South Side Writers’ Club. From 1924 until 1932, Hughes published four collections of verse: The Weary Blues (1926), Fine Clothes to the Jew (1927), Not Without Laughter (1930), and Mother and Child: A Dialogue (1931). 

However, despite critical acclaim, none were commercially successful. The Great Depression hit America hard during these years, so money became even tighter for many African Americans who had been struggling economically before then anyway. Langston returned to New York in 1933 with no steady employment prospects but never quit writing. He continued following his writing passion and produced remarkable literary pieces displaying conventional thematic strands. 

In fact, Langston Hughes was one of the first African-American poets to focus on important themes like racism and segregation, which white poets did not typically address. His collections, Montage of a Dream Deferred and Simple Speaks His Mind, are examples of how he used his poetry to share his social beliefs with the world. 

He also wrote about the complexities of being an African-American man in America during the 1950s and 60s. Even when he was focused on these issues, he always found a way to maintain his sense of humor, as seen in poems like The Negro Speaks of Rivers. Hughes is coined as a legend because he used his poetry to tackle complex issues in society and made people feel heard through his work.

His Influence

Hughes published his first book, The Weary Blues, in 1926. It was a success, and he became part of a literary renaissance that swept the African-American community. His work inspired poets like Gwendolyn Brooks and Amiri Baraka. He also influenced other writers, including Ralph Ellison, Albert Camus, and Jules Pfeiffer, who felt Hughes’s poetry captured their own feelings about race in America. 

A close friend of Malcolm X, Hughes helped change how white Americans saw black people by showing them through his art that they were intelligent, thoughtful human beings. Thus, Langston Hughes is one of the most famous poets of all time for his poems about social justice and his use of rhythm. His influence on other writers has been far-reaching, with many major writers quoting him in their work.

Suggested Readings

What is Langston Hughes saying in his poem “I Too?”

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