by Ayoung Jo
- Born James Mercer Langston Hughes in 1902 in Joplin, Ohio, Langston Hughes was one of the greatest poets in America. In his childhood, his parents got divorced and since his mother always travelled for work, he was raised by his grandmother until his adolescent years. During this period in his life, he liked to spend his time reading books and learned to appreciate literature, thanks to his grandmother, who always stressed to him the importance of getting educated. He started writing his first poems in eighth grade. He was a well behaved, popular student, and was even voted the class poet in his senior year in Central High School in Cleveland, Ohio. After finishing high school, he traveled abroad to places like Latin America, Europe and Africa. He eventually settled in Harlem, New York, where he contributed greatly to the Harlem Renaissance. His works, including poems and other pieces of writing, are still valued today.
Langston Hughes is still widely read by many and is best remembered for his big role in the Harlem Renaissance. As in the case of many other writers and poets, his works were influenced by many things in his life, especially the poor, although he was known for being friendly with other social classes as well. He was intrigued by the “beauty” of the low-class people, especially their music: the blues. Also, by traveling to many other countries in his lifetime, he observed how other countries were resolving their domestic racial issues, in the period when the US was still experiencing harsh segregation. Hughes was a firm believer in expressing his beliefs about politics and social injustice through his works.
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