Facts of Life – Langston Hughes
“Langston Hughes was born in Joplin, Missouri in February 1, 1901. After that he moved around several times. A few places he lived was, Kansas, Missouri, Mexico, Los Angeles, Illinois, Oklahoma, Kansas, Africa, Poland, Paris, Chicago, and New York. While Langston was in Mexico there was an earthquake on April 14, 1907,which had scared his mom. Langstons mom and grandmother packed them up and left leaving his father there. After that they headed to Langston’s new home, Kansas. (“”Langston Hughes Timeline””, 2018)
His father James Hughes was a lawyer. They lived in Oklahoma but they would not allow his father to be a lawyer there. James had a somewhat hard time finding jobs, being black in that time period made it hard for African lawyers to get work. His mother was teacher but eventually started freelancing. Sometimes Langston would go with her helping on shows and act out like a comedian by dancing. This would sometimes upset her because she thought he was making fun of her but it was really his own way of expressing himself. (Cooper, 1998)
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Growing up Hughes was always very popular. He was one the smart kid in class and would often read stories and poetry to his friends. While growing up Langston did grow up in a somewhat segregated school, he still managed to make several friends. They would often go somewhere after school just to listen to Langston’s poetry. (Cooper, 1998) (Jones, 2014)
Langstons grandmother Mary was a huge part of his life. She helped raise him and sometimes he would go and stay with her when his mother was not able to feed him or have a place for him to sleep. Sometimes he would go and visit her for a day or two. That is when he would help her with her shows onstage. Mary was also involved in the underground railroad which he discovered in his teenage years. His grandmother Mary had died when he was thirteen. After she passed Langston had to move in with Auntie and Uncle Reed. (Jones, 2014) (Cooper, 1998)
Auntie and Uncle Reed were not Hughe’s actual aunt and uncle, but more friends of the family who had lived down the street. They had offered to take him in because his mom couldn’t support him and herself at the same time. While living with them he ate more than he could fathom. Auntie and Uncle Reed were very religious. This means Langston went to Church a lot while living with them. There isn’t much about his Uncle Reed attending church with them.(Cooper, 1998)
He attended high school in Ohio, and graduated on June 16, 1920. According to google he also attended college at Lincoln University and Columbia University. While in Lincoln he studied engineering. At Lincoln he earned his B.A. which is also known as a Bachelor of Arts. That is pretty impressive for a mixed child in the 1920’s in my opinion. (“”Langston Hughes Timeline””, 2018)
In 1935 Hughes play Mulatto opened on Broadway. This was a really big accomplishment for Langston. It proved he was a great poet and writer. Mulatto: A Tragedy of the Deep South is a play about race issues according to bing. It had played for 373 shows lasting 11 months. Mulatto was about a black son with a white father and a black mother. The father had said several times that the son was not his and that his mother was just for fun and not an actual person who mattered in life. It shows the hardship of being a mixed and African person growing up in those ages. (“”Langston Hughes Timeline””, 2018)
Hughes has won numerous contest in his lifetime. He even is still rewarded after his passing. After he died there was a metal called the Langston Hughes Medal from the City College of New York in 1973. Seven years before he passed away the NAACP gave Langston the Spingarn Medal. 6 years before he died he was inducted into the National Institute of Arts and Letters. (“”Langston Hughes Timeline””, 2018)
Hughes wrote on his own or on a collaboration piece. He also edited his own work. Over his lifetime Hughes pretty much wrote in every form of writing there is. From verse, fiction, biography, autobiography, history and drama. Most writers stuck to one or two genres but he had ventured out of his comfort zone and attempted pretty much all the common genres. (The Encyclopedia Americana, 1992)
I wonder as I wonder was published in 1956. The book was an autobiography, according to google it recalled his most intimate and dramatic moments of his life. The book shared about his travels all over the world. It was about his life around the 1930’s (“”Langston Hughes Timeline””, 2018)
Langston James Hughes died May 22, 1967 at Stuyvesant Polyclinic . During his lifetime he never married, he also never had any kids either. Some speculated he was a homosexual but in my opinion someone probably said that because they did not understand not everyone wants to get married and have kids. Langston was most likely very busy all the time so I could understand why he never had the opportunity. (“”Langston Hughes Timeline””, 2018)
During his lifetime he brought a lot to his audience. He showed the world his life and that no matter how bad your life was, is, or even where you started at you can always become someone other people will admire. If Langston would not have been born then less people would have spoken out about their oppression. Less black people would have attempted to become published of even share their work. He gave people a voice when they were not able to speak. This isn’t saying it wouldn’t have never happened but i feel he made it happen a lot sooner than later.
When he came out with his play on broadway not many people believed that it would last that long but he proved them wrong. People had came from all over to watch the play that Langston had wrote. The fact that it ran for 373 shows for a little over 11 months proves that it impacted peoples life. People came to see it because Mulatto starred racism in the face. It showed the actual hardships of African Americans and the problems they faced living in that society.
He was rewarded even after death. After his death he was awarded numerous times over. There are buildings still being built in honor of Langston James Hughes. This proves that his life had actually improved and affected other people’s life even after death. I believe he will still recieve rewards decades after his life was over. Even though Langston never married and never had kids I believe his legacy will live on through his published works.
I chose Langston Hughes as my project because i’ve grown up reading his poetry. I, too, sing America was one of the first poems I had read from in the fifth grade for black history month. My history teacher was obsessed with him, so that’s probably the reason I was introduced to him at a younger age. Having Langston as one of the most famous poets impacted how poetry affects my life. Having known him I feel like he impacted my life in a better way, he made me realize I loved reading and look at things from a different point of view. When I saw his name I decided to try and get him because of his impact. I got up early just to get him name and was happy when I found out I did indeed get his name.
One of the reasons I used to be obsessed with Hughes is his overall personality for equality and prosperity in the government. He had determination to prove he was proud of who he was and wouldn’t want to change that for anything or anyone. Langston was a well around great person. Hughes made enormous impacts on several people’s lives during his own lifetime, even after he passed he still gives people hope for a better future. Which is a great over all quality. He was a big “mommas boy” and cared greatly for her. That’s probably a reason he was somewhat shy. Having his mom working his whole life and leaving him alone taught him to be self disciplined.
Even though I saw Langston as an all together put together guy he did have some bad qualities. He was very opinionated which isn’t always a bad thing, but for him he sometimes didn’t know when to not say certain things. Some would say he was a great and humble guy but in my opinion he was a little cocky, because he knew how big his poetry was starting to get. There aren’t many things in my opinion that are bad about Langston Hughes.”