Langston Hughes

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Langston Hughes
Langston Hughes was an American novelist, playwright, short story writer, columnist, and one of the members of the Harlem Renaissance. In his long career, he wrote an impressive collection of plays, stories, columns, and poems. His writing reflected his childhood and his widely diverse views of the world. While he is praised for his poems, his books and playwrights, though successful, have often been called racist or communist influenced.

Langston was born on February 2nd 1902 to a poor family in Joplin Missouri. His ancestors include John Mercer Langston who, in 1855, was the first Black American to be elected to public office. His family also includes several past abolitionists, including his two grandfathers, who were both white men from the north. He once stated that his racial status affected his writing. This can clearly be scene in his successful, yet controversial play, “The Mulatto.”

Langston first started writing in the 8th grade, but began taking his writing seriously around his high school years. Hughes attended high school in Cleveland. He was known as the class poet, however his father didn’t encourage him to write. His father’s lack of encouragement may have been because it was very hard for a Negro writer to succeed back then. However, Langston once said, “We younger Negro artists now intend to express our individual dark-skinned selves without fear or shame.”

Langston initially attended college at Columbia University, however, he later dropped out. After Columbia, he began to write most of his known poems, like “The Negro speaks of rivers.” In 1923, Hughes traveled among many places to broaden his view on the world. His visits to D.C. and New York proved the most influential in his career because of the beat from the jazz music he heard in those places. With the newfound rhythm in his work, he began to produce many…...

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