Langston Hughes

Langston Hughes

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  • Early Life
  • Let's name him John Mercer Langston Hughes!
  • Segregation
  • We don't want you in our restaurant! NO BLACKS ALLOWED!
  • Growing Up with Grandma
  • Your relatives were black heroes. Your grandfather...
  • Langston Hughes was born on February 1, 1902, in Joplin Missouri. His parents divorced when he was very young. Langston's full name is John Mercer Langston Hughes. His father moved to Mexico after being rejected for a job while his mother looked for a job. 
  • Booker T. Washington
  • Segregation existed during Langston Hughes's life. During this time, African Americans were discriminated. One reason for this were the Jim Crow laws. There were many separated public places, like seperate schools, restaurants, and water fountains. Some of his poems involve segregation. 
  • Education
  • Class Poet: Langston Hughes
  • Carl Sandburg wrote many poems...
  • Langston grew up with his maternal grandmother. They were poor. She often told him stories of his relatives, many of which were black heroes, like his grandmother, who had been the first black woman to attend Oberlin College. His grandfather was killed in an attempt to free slaves. The stories gave him hope that he could be a hero too.
  • Death and Legacy
  • Langston Hughes 1902-1967 African-American Poet, Short Story Writer, and Playwright Leading Figure of the Harlem Renaissance
  • Although they were poor, Langston's grandmother believed a boy needed heroes, and took him to see Booker T. Washington speak. Booker T. Washington was a African American leader.  Hughes later wrote a poem about Washington and his path from slavery to achievement. Langston lived with his grandmother until she died in his early teens. Then, he lived with his mother.
  • Langston started to write poems around this time. One of his teachers in school introduced the poems of Carl Sandburg and Walt Whitman, both of which he would later cite as primary influences. Langston was also a regular contributor to the school newspaper. His peers elected him "class poet".
  • Langston Hughes died on May 22, 1967 in New York of complications of prostate cancer.  His ashes were interred beneath the entrance of the Arthur Schomburg Center for music. The inscription marking the spot says," My soul has grown deep like the rivers." This is a line from his poem "The Negro Speaks of Rivers". Volumes of his work still continue to be published and translated throughout the world. His home on East 127th street in Harlem, New York received New York City Landmark status.
  • The Weary Blues 
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