Langston Hughes

A piece of the African-American artistic movement


Langston Hughes was born in Joplin, MO, His parents divorced shortly before he was born and his father moved to Mexico. His mother had to go to the city in search of a job, so his grandmother, Mary Langston raised him. He moved to Cleveland to live with his mother and his step-dad during high school. After graduating his ambitious goals were to move on to Colombia University and become a poet. However his father said he would only fund college if he studied Engineering. Langston later dropped out to focus on the African-American cultural movement. His first major piece, The Weary Blues covered the sound and soul of Harlem. When this piece won an award, writer Carl Van Vechten used his influence to get Hughes´ pieces in the Vanity Fair. Hughes graduated college and Lincoln University and had many controversial writings after this. He kept his dream clear and focused on how he took in the world. In his travels around the world he stared supporting communism due to the depression sweeping across the world. Langston had a brief stint of writing plays and movies, but had to include racial stereotypes so that was short lived. He continued to write the rest of his life and in 1967, May 22nd he die due to uremia.

His Impact

  • Published, The Weary Blues which covered the sound of Harlem for the world.
  • Fine Clothes to the Jew sparked controversy among African Americans while it portrayed prostitutes, alcoholics and the poor.
  • In a series of plays, Langston created the character, ¨Simple¨ to show the struggles a black man faces.
Langston Hughes - "The Weary Blues" on CBUT, 1958