I, Too, Sing America

Langston Hughes: Hughes was born February 1, 1902 in Joplin, Missouri but lived with his grandmother in Lawrence, Kansas. He went to a nearby High school and began to pick up a passion for writing at an early age Hughes was getting tons of recognition for his writing. In just the eighth grade Hughes wrote his first verse and was named class poet, being named class poet Hughes self-esteem grew and urged him to continue. It didn't take long for everyone to realize the talent Hughes had, his High school teachers started to recognize more and more each day, Hughes had his first poem published in Central High Monthly, a sophisticated school magazine. Shortly after this publication Hughes was on the staff of the Monthly, and publishing in the magazine regularly. A couple years later Hughes father and mother became apart of his life, but for Hughes being together as a family was not what he expected. Hughes felt hurt by both his mother and father, and felt rejected, causing him to be very insecure and unsure of himself. But, little did Hughes know that these feelings would soon later help him publish plenty of amazing poems with strong meanings behind them. In the fall of 1921 Hughes entered Columbia University, only staying for a year. Hughes came across the art scene in Harlem, and many writings after that were influenced by the Harlem Renaissance. Hughes lived a good life, and published many amazing poems, but his life was taken from him after have abdominal surgery in the year 1967.

Affected and Projected: Many would say Hughes had a sense of literature where he wrote about whatever came across his mind, others would disagree and say he wrote from his feelings, he wrote about real life everyday things. Hughes past affected his writing, growing up Hughes lived with his grandmother; Mary Sampson Patterson Leary Langston, Mary was old and was unable to give him all the attention he needed. Growing up with little to no attention gave Hughes the sense of failure and rejection, having those feelings he put them into poems. Hughes wrote a poem called "As I Grew Older" he wrote about how his sense of failure projected him into having a dream of not failing and becoming all that he can be. He pursued his dream and shattered the darkness.

Common themes: In the poem Misery the theme is music, in the poem English b the theme is racism, in the poem Mother to Son the theme is self-actualization.


Analysis of I, Too:

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The affects of the Harlem Renaissance: Langston Hughes was one of the most important writers and thinkers of the Harlem Renaissance, the Harlem Renaissance was the African American artistic movement in the 1920s that celebrated black life and culture. Hughes's creative and genius writing was influenced by his life in New York City's Harlem, a primarily African American neighborhood.


Created with images by Ron Cogswell - "Child and Flag -- One of Bryan Collier's Illustrations for 'I, Too, Am America' by Langston Hughes (2012) -- Brandywine River Museum of Art (PA) September 2016"

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