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Langston Hughes A Harlem Renaissance Man

1745 words - 7 pages

The beginning of the 20th century many African Americans migrated from the south to the north in what we call today, the Great Migration. Many African Americans found themselves in a district of New York City called Harlem. The area known as Harlem matured into the hideaway of jazz and the blues where the African American artist emerged calling themselves the “New Negro.” The New Negro was the cornerstone for an era known today as the Harlem Renaissance (Barksdale 23). The Harlem Renaissance warranted the expression of the double consciousness of the African Americans, which was exposed by artists such as Langston Hughes. James Mercer Langston Hughes was an African American poet, journalist, playwright, and novelist whose works were incredibly well known. It was during the peak of the Harlem Renaissance in which Langston Hughes produced poetry which was not just musically and artistically sound, but also captured the essence of the blues. Thus giving life to a new version of poetry that illustrated the African American struggle between society and oneself. Langston Hughes was one of the most original and versatile African American artists of the twentieth century, who achieved respect and fame for his capacity to convey the African American experience in words. The accomplishment of such creation catapulted Langston Hughes to be one of the most influential artists of the Harlem Renaissance who utilized aspects of his life as inspiration for his poetry.
Langston Hughes was the first poet to combine African American artistic forms, such as blues and jazz, with poetry. Due to the Great Migration, the blues of the south slowly emerged in the major cities of the North, like New York City’s Harlem. Hughes was ensnared by the rhythm of this music and based much of his poetry off of it. His love of the Blues and the culture which created it were just two of the reasons in which Hughes utilized the blues in his poetry, he had hoped to ride the craze to the top (Barksdale 46). Despite the difference in the markets for poetry and music, he was sure he could manage to merge the two. Langston Hughes employed the structures, themes, words, and rhythms of the blues movement that he had encountered in the field, the country, the city, the stage, or even the alley way. Utilizing the stanza and musical structures in his poetry, Hughes frequently employed the twelve-bar blues structure, which is considered the blues classic form. Much of his poetry posses an identifiable beat or rhythm and read like the verses of the music he loved. These poems even echoed the themes so ritualistic in the blues, such as lost love, sorrow, hopelessness and sorrow (Langston Hughes). Langston Hughes was a major idol of the Harlem Renaissance who borrowed extensively from the blues and jazz in his work, which set the stage for a new custom of African American literacy influences from African American music.
Langston Hughes’ poetry frequently cites the “American Dream” from the...

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