I Am Negro, Black as Night
The title of this paper was inspired by the famous black poet, Langston Hughes’, poem Negro, which is included in the book The Collected Poems of Langston Hughes. Langston Hughes’ works are world renowned classics years after the start of his career. Hughes’ works were very influential in the age of the Harlem Renaissance. They are some of the greatest and most eye-opening works of that time. The research undertaken in this paper will include some aspects of his personal life, educational background, important works, the difference in his writing styles and the achievements that he acquired during his career.
Langston Hughes was born James Mercer Langston Hughes on February 1, 1902 in Joplin, Missouri. His parents divorced at a young age and for some time he was raised by his grandmother in Lawrence, Kansas (Kansas Heritage.com). After the divorce, his father moved to Mexico and Langston went to live with his mother and her new family in Lincoln, Illinois when he was thirteen. Around this time is when Hughes began writing his poetic works. Langston’s father had trouble finding work in America because of his race, so he relocated to Mexico. When his father moved away, Hughes found that writing poetry helped him to express his feelings about his father relocation. After living in Illinois for only a year, the family moved to Cleveland, Ohio where Hughes’ stepfather found work.
In Hughes’ junior year of high school, he moved to Mexico to live with his father. Langston Hughes returned to Cleveland to finish high school, graduated and attended Columbia University (poets.org). Some jobs Langston acquired during the years after he left Columbia in 1922 were as a busboy, assistant cook, launderer, and a seaman where he traveled to Europe and Africa (Rampersad). During this period, Langston lived in Paris for a few months before moving to Washington, D.C., in November of 1924 (Rampersad). Hughes returned to school in 1926 and enrolled in the historically black university, Lincoln University in Pennsylvania. Langston Hughes graduated from the university in 1929. During these years Langston published some of his most acclaimed poetry such as, The Weary Blues and Fine Clothes to the Jew. Hughes’ first volume of poetry was also entitled The Weary Blues.
In 1929, while still attending Lincoln University, Hughes’ was mentored and supported in his endeavors by Mrs. Charlotte Mason, a Caucasian philanthropist widow of a medical doctor who oversaw and edited the creation of his first novel Not Without Laughter, which was published in 1930. Not Without Laughter won the Harmon Gold Medal for Literature. After the publication of Not Without Laughter, Langston and Mrs. Mason’s relationship ended because of her insistence on African-American authors writing with a primitive African technique (xroads.virginia.edu). Sometime after the dissolution of Hughes’ relationship with Mason, he experienced a period of...