Langston Hughes

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Biography

Langston Hughes was born on February 1, 1902, in Joplin, Missouri. He published his first poem in 1921. His parents, James Hughes and Carrie Langston divorced after he was born and his father moved to Mexico.

Hughes graduated from high school in 1920 and then spent the next year in Mexico with his father. Around this time Hughes's poem "The Negro Speaks of Rivers" was published in the Crisis magazine and it was very popular. After leaving Mexico he enrolled into Columbia University. He later dropped out of Columbia to find a job in New York. He found a job on a freighter as a steward that took him to Africa and Spain. He quit his job in 1924 and moved to Paris and continued to work on his poetry. In November, 1924 Hughes went back to the United States. He started to work in various places, one of those places was in Washington D.C working as a bust boy at a restaurant. He met an American poet named Vachel Lindsey. Hughs showed her a bunch of his poems and she loved them. She decided to promote him to a wider audience. In 1925, Hughes's poem “The Weary Blues” won first prize in the Opportunity magazine literary competition, and Hughes also received a scholarship to attend Lincoln University, in Pennsylvania. While studying at Lincoln, Hughes poetry came to the attention of novelist and critic Carl Van Vechten, who used his connections to help get Hughes’s first book of poetry, "The Weary Blues", published in 1926. His book became popular and then he began to use jazz rhythms and dialect to describe the life of urban blacks in his writing. Later Hughs went on to publish many famous novels and became a part of the Harlem Renaissance's culture. He died on May 22, 1967 to prostate cancer.

Contributions to the Harlem Renaissance

Langston Hughes wrote books, plays, and poetry. The theme in his books, poetry, and plays make him a big contributor to the Harlem Renaissance.
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