Langston Hughes Joshua Richards 8th block

The life of Langston Hughes

On February 1st, 1902 James Mercer Langston Hughes was born. He was born in Joplin Missouri and his parents got divorced when he was a young boy. His father moved to mexico and so his grandmother raised him until he was just thirteen years old. He then moved to Lincoln Illinois to live with his mother and her husband before they settled down in Cleveland Ohio. Langston started writing poetry in Lincoln. After he graduated from his high school he spent a year in Mexico and another year at Columbia University in New York City. During those two years he worked as and assistant cook, launderer, truck farmer, waiter, doorman and a busboy. He also traveled to places working as a seaman. In November of 1924, he moved to Washington D.C. He finished his college education at Lincoln University in Pennsylvania in 1929. Three years later his first novel, Not Without Laughter,(Knopf, 1930) won the Harmon gold medal for literature. Langston Hughes claims that Paul Lawrence Dunbar, Carl Sandburg, and Walt Whitman as his primary influences. He wrote short stories, novels, plays and poetry. At 24 years old he is a conspicuous in the group of Negro intellectuals who are dignifying Harlem. In Langston's own words, his poetry is about "workers, roustabouts, and singers, and job hunters on Lenox Avenue in New York, or Seventh Street in Washington or South State in Chicago." Langston Hughes reached out to many people through his popular fictional Character, Jesse B. Semple. During the twenties most American poets turned writing inward, writing obscure and esoteric poetry. Langston wrote poetry outwards using language and themes, attitudes and ideas familiar to anyone who could simply read. Langston left a large amount of poetic work. He also wrote eleven plays and countless works of prose.

Poems by Langston


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