Mr. Sparrow 1º
7th May 2014
James Mercer Langston Hughes was born February 1, 1902 in Joplin, Missouri. James Hughes and Carrie Langston are Hughes’ parents. They later divorced when Hughes was young. After his parents divorced he went to live with his grandmother until he turned thirteen years old. At thirteen years old he moved to Lincoln, Illinois. After living in Illinois he later moved to Cleveland, Ohio to live with his mother. When he moved to Cleveland he started writing poetry (“James Mercer…” par. 2). Langston had many influential poets that he looked up too such as Carl Sandburg and Walt Whitman (“James Mercer…”par. 2). Langston Hughes, a gifted African-American poet, whose poetry was driven by blues, jazz, and other prominent ideas of the Harlem Renaissance.
Hughes graduated from high school in 1920. After graduating high school he spent some time with his father in Mexico (“James Mercer…”par. 2). Some of Hughes's early works were influenced by the absence of his parents. Langston attended college at Columbia University but later dropped out. When he was at Columbia University he already had created a poem titled “The Negro Speaks of Rivers”. Hughes was not always surrounded by the Renaissance environment but after tons of jobs, such as freighter in Africa and Spain, and a seaman, he became influenced by the Renaissance culture. He also lived in Paris, France for a couple years (“James Mercer…”par. 2). Hughes later returned to the United States in 1924 and had many different jobs such as a busboy for a restaurant in Washington D.C. Working as a busboy allowed him to speak with a famous poet, Vachel Lindsay. Hughes was fortunate enough for Lindsay to promote his works and get Hughes known (“James Mercer…”par. 3). Hughes became famous and wrote many forms of literature such as poems, books, and plays. Hughes went to different countries and spoke to groups of people about his poetry and life (“James Mercer…”par. 3).
Hughes had many first works such as his first poem, “The Negro Speaks of Rivers”. “The Negro Speaks of Rivers” talks about African-American life (Rampersad 1). Another work of his titled “The Weary Blues”, one of his famous poems, explored many ideas of the Renaissance time period. (Hughes 30). “The Weary Blues” got Hughes a scholarship to Lincoln University (“James Mercer…”par. 3).This poem was published in 1926 by Alfred A. Knopf (“James Mercer…”par. 3). “The Weary Blues” talked about Hughes hearing blues at a club where African-American music was prominent (Hughes 31). Hughes was the first black author to have his play on Broadway (Carney 15). The play, “Mulatto”, talked about his early life experiences about his parents’ divorce and isolation (Rampersad 1).
Langston Hughes’ poetry style separated him from other poets. Hughes is separated from the other African-American poets because he made his poems about real life situations such as the struggles of blacks during that time...