Discuss the Reasons Langston Hughes
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Twentieth century writer, Langston Hughes, was celebrated for being “Poet of the People.” Hughes poems were about the struggles of black men and women, black men and women who didn’t get recognized for their artistry, and even about his community. Through this same poetry, he spoke against racism, promoted equality, and celebrated black people as a whole. Hughes understood that the “American” experience wasn’t the same for every citizen because at the time, African Americans were discriminated against and oppressed.
Black people were barely considered second-class citizens and sadly, black citizens never really had access to the American dream like white citizens. Hughes believed in equality and he knew that the path to gain equality wouldn’t be an easy one, but he also knew the struggle would be worth it in the end.
Langston Hughes poem called, “I, too” is like a representation of a point in the twentieth century when Jim Crow laws spread throughout the south and quickly enforced racial segregation. In this poem, Hughes recognizes the difference between African Americans and whites in the society. Although short in length, the poem delivers a strong message on how African Americans truly felt at the time.
As a black man in America, Hughes had experienced racism and being oppressed first hand. His poetry often represents this oppression. Hughes became a voice for the people because he had hope, even when times were rough. He took on the responsibility to speak on these injustices because of his position in the Harlem society and the black community. Hughes portrayed life exactly how he saw it and what he saw was hardworking black people as maids, cooks, piano players, etc. He also saw how poorly blacks were living at the time. This gave him the opportunity to present the harsh reality of African American life, through his works. In his poem, “Negro,” Hughes reflects on the suffering that African Americans had to endure in the past and in the present.
When reading Langston Hughes poetry, readers should deeply consider the time period. The time period has much to do with how Langston Hughes presents African American lives in his work. Langston Hughes poetry highlights the black experience in America. Hughes addressed his poetry to the people, meaning this is specifically to black people. He differed from other black poets at the time because his poetry doesn’t just reflect his own experiences, but the experiences of black America. By telling everyone’s story and not just his, he made a way for blacks to reflect on culture, love of music, oppression, suffering, language, and humor. From various perspectives, Hughes was faithful to the standards he had set down for all black men and women creatives in 1926. His art/specialty was immovably established in race pride and he appreciated his opportunity as a free artist. The history of black America and its social structures has been a lesson for survival and African American poetry is a reflection of that. Langston Hughes was unique and original compared to other African American artists and, in the broadness and variety of his work, without a doubt one of the greatest African American poets of his time. He wrote unabashedly about the experiences of black America, which made him such an unforgettable figure in African American literature.
- Hughes, Langston. “I, Too.” The Collected Poems of Langston Hughes,Vintage Books, 1994.
- Hughes, Langston. “NEGRO.” Langston and Us Over Blog. Web. 10 Janvier 2011.”
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