What is the Significance of the Placement of Langston Hughes Ashes?
Many people would consider Mr. Langston Hughes one of the greatest poets of his era. Hughes had so much love and passion for African American literature and music; he dedicated his life writing many inspiring poems for his generation and most importantly for younger generations. He devoted his life and career believing that African American poems and music were a very powerful tool to use for Blacks when it came to experiencing themselves and speaking up against the injustice society. Hughes’s poetry often used the African American cultural experience as its subject matter, with the goal of illustrating Black life in America in all of its beauty, challenges, and nuances. Langston Hughes was one of the most talented writers and thinkers of the Harlem Renaissance, which was the African American artistic movement in the 1920s that celebrated black life and culture. Hughes’s creative genius was influenced by his life in New York City’s Harlem, a primarily African American neighborhood. Although Langston Hughes had made a significant impact on Black Americans and literature, his journey came to an end on May 22, 1967, when he died from prostate cancer. Hughes’ ashes were interred beneath the entrance of the Arthur Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem. The design on the floor covering his ashes is an African cosmogram titled River. The title is taken from his poem, “The Negro Speaks of Rivers.” Within the center of the cosmogram, above his ashes, is the line: “My Soul has grown deep like the river.” Since New York City was the place where Hughes’s work inspired many people, that city deserved to be the last place where the journey of a great author ended in.
In what special way did Langston Hughes interact with children in his neighborhood? Why? From watching Hughes Dream Harlem Film, Hughes cared so much about children, and he felt that if young people were more involved in their communities, the chances that one day they could be successful were very high. For example, Hughes wanted to involve the children of the neighborhood in planting the garden in his front yard. At that moment, Hughes found a good opportunity to involve kids and possibly teach them something useful. Furthermore, people who lived in the same neighborhood as Hughes had said that Hughes made sure that each flower was given a name for each child that planted it. Hughes main interaction was with adults; however, he made sure that children were included as well. 3. What was Langston Hughes’s significance to the Harlem Renaissance? “The Harlem Renaissance was a period that lasted roughly from the end of World War I to the mid-1930s and had its main flourishing during the 1920s.” During this period, black artists and intellectuals converged on the Harlem neighborhood in upper Manhattan, developing a vibrant arts culture centered around the black experience. Hughes was an important part of Harlem culture in the 1920s and early 1930s.
He was influential because his poetry spoke to the outward concerns of black people and their desire for dignity. In addition, Hughes’s poetry involves a lot of references to and rhythms from jazz, which he considered the highest expression of African-American life. For example, he wrote many unforgettable poems of all the time such as: “The Negro Speaks of Rivers”, “I have known Rivers”, and “The Weary Blues.” In the “The Weary Blues”, Hughes began his poem with the following line: “Droning a drowsy syncopated tune,/Rocking back and forth to a mellow croon,/ I heard a Negro play.” His lines imitate the syncopated rhythm and improvisation of jazz. Hughes’s work celebrated working-class African-Americans, their music, and their lives and transmitted pride in African-American traditions. Langston Hughes was indeed one of the most influential artists of his time. 4. Interpret the Langston Hughes poem “The Negro Speaks of Rivers” on page 889 and also explain how this poem this poem was related to the film. “The Negro Speaks of Rivers” considers being one of the most memorable poems that Hughes wrote. The poem, if literally interpreted is about rivers, but it holds a much deeper meaning to a trained eye and an empathetic soul.
The literal portion of the poem uses some common literary devices, such as repetition. This is shown inlines one and ten, “I’ve known rivers.” It is also apparent with “My soul has grown deep like the rivers” in lines four and twelve. This repetition adds a crucial overall meaning to the poem, both the blatant and the subliminal. Furthermore, the author wrote in a more profound meaning into this work though. Telling of how Black people have played a key role throughout history. Such as in Egypt shown “I looked upon the Nile and raised the pyramids above it”, line six. It also states that they were there from the very beginning, in the Cradle of Humanity, given in line five with “I bathed in the Euphrates when dawns were young.” Showing this is what the true meaning of the poem is about. In addition to being around since the beginning, Hughes also shows that the Negro people have seen the biggest changes throughout all history. A major situation they watched and were the main subject of, was slavery; represented in line eight, “…the singing of the Mississippi…” with the Mississippi River being a symbol of slavery.
The changed they (Negros) witnessed was the “freeing” of the slaves, this can be interpreted from line seven “and I’ve seen its (the Mississippi River) muddy bosom turn all golden in the sunset.” The sunset could be the ending of slavery and the “golden bosom” is the new age that may ensue from their new gained “freedom.” It is with the combination of simple poetic devices and an extremely deep inner meaning, that “The Negro Speaks of Rivers,” was one of Langston Hughes’ better-known poems. Not only being one of his well-known works, but it is also a very good example of the writings that came out of the Harlem Renaissance. The connection that I found between “The Negro Speaks of Rivers,” and “Hughes Dream Harlem Film” was that in both the poetry and the movie, Hughes, encouraged Black authors to be passionate about their own history and literature. Also, Hughes wanted African Americans to know and love themselves so they could be able to fight racism and the injustice system.