Langston Hughes poetry reflects his life as an African American and the time period in which he lived in.He was born in 1902, in Joplin Missouri. After his parents separated, he and his mom lived a life of poverty moving from place to place. After completing high school and attending a year at Columbia University, he worked in a series of low skill jobs. He became a merchant seaman in 1923 visiting ports in West Africa and living for a time in Paris, Genoa, and Rome before coming back to the United States. He then published some poems and an essay which earned him fame. In 1929 he graduated from Lincoln University. Hughes was a central figure in the Harlem Renaissance. He was a talented author in many areas including: fiction, drama, translation, criticism, opera libretti, memoir, cinema, songwriting, and poetry. He was also enthusiastic about African American culture and wrote down folklore and poetry.The 1920s was a time period called the Harlem Renaissance. The Harlem Renaissance was the development of the primarily African American Harlem neighborhood in New York City where black culture and the social and artistic boom happened. It is considered a golden age in African American culture, resulting in literature, music, stage performance and art. The civil rights movement was a struggle for social justice that took place mainly during the 1950s and 1960s.
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Blacks wanted to gain equal rights under the law in the United States. The civil war abolished slavery but it didn’t end discrimination and segregation against African Americans. Blacks continued to endure the devastating effects of racism, especially in the South. In the mid-20th century, African Americans were fedup of the prejudice and violence against them. Blacks along with many whites, mobilized and began an unprecedented fight for equality that spanned two decades.Langston Hughes Mother to Son poem reflects his life as an African American and the time period in which he lived. In this poem, a mother uses the metaphor of life being like a set of steps. This poem uses symbols like tacks, splinters, uncarpeted floor and dark, unlit corners to refer to hardships, challenges, and darkness in life. She tells her son that life is difficult but just as you walk up a set of stairs, you have to keep moving in life, keep going forward and upward. She tells him not to go back down even if climbing the stairs is difficult. She confesses that she is still climbing, still going up the steps, even though her life is still filled with hardships and problems. The mother has an inner strength which gives her perseverance and allows her to keep going against all odds.This poem also touches on the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s. The poem talks about the painful history of African Americans. The poem is comparing a staircase to the many hardships in life. His poem has obvious tone of hopelessness, perseverance, and sadness. Langston is talking about a mother talking to her son and all young people suggesting they keep persevering when its hard too. Most African Americans during this time could relate to Hughes’s poems.
They lived in these hard times, encountered these struggles he talked about. They felt Hughe’s frustration. His words were affirming, challenging, and political. They spoke to all those trying to live up to his advice and reach for their dreams. Hughes showed that wisdom was passed down through generations when writing about the mother telling her son to never give up, even though times were difficult and hard. Wisdom is learned through experience and influences one’s decisions to continue in the face of hardships.The poem I, Too by Langston Hughes reflects his life as an African American and the racism and unequal treatment of African Americans in the time period he lived in. He wrote this poem from the eyes of a black servant. He begins by saying that he too can sing America, meaning that he is claiming his personal right to feel patriotic towards his country, even though he is the darker brother who cannot sit at the table and must eat in the kitchen. This implies to the common practice of racial segregation during the early 20th century, when African Americans faced discrimination in almost every way of their lives. They were forced to live, work, eat and travel separately from whites. They had few civil or legal rights.
They were often victims of racial violence, and faced economic isolation in both the North and the South.He then claims that tomorrow he will join the others at the table and no one will dare send him back to the kitchen. Not only that, but the people will see how beautiful he is, even though he is black and will therefore feel ashamed of how they were treating him. This states the hope that African Americans have for tomorrow meaning the future. Poetry by Langston Hughes reflects his life as an African American and the time period in which he lived in. He condemned racism and injustice and promoted equality and celebrated african american culture. Langston Hughes accomplished many things in his life. He was a poet, novelist, playwright, columnist, social activist and more. His writings influenced people and helped shape american literature. He played an important role in many people’s lives. People could relate to his writings especially African Americans.
Poetry by Langston Hughes and his life as an African American. (2019, Oct 30).
Retrieved October 5, 2022 , from
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