5 May 2014
Langston Hughes was an important literary figure during the 1920s, a period known as the "Harlem Renaissance." The Harlem Renaissance was a cultural movement that included the new African-American cultural expressions across the urban areas in the Northeast and Midwest United States affected by the Great Migration. Hughes is known to have played an important role in the Harlem Renaissance. Hughes endured many hardships in his lifetime. Each influenced not only his character but the writer he became. Langston Hughes poetry shows the struggles of African-Americans have profoundly shaped the way a great majority of Americans view discrimination.
James Mercer Langston Hughes was born on February 1, 1902 in Joplin, Missouri. His parents divorced when he was young and his father moved to Mexico. Hughes ended up being raised by his grandmother until he was 13 when he moved to Lincoln Illinois to live with his mother.
Hughes, his mother, and his step-father eventually ended up settling in Cleveland, Ohio. While living in Lincoln, Illinois Langston Hughes began writing poetry. When he graduated from high school, he spent a year in Mexico followed by a year at Columbia University in New York City. During this time he held odd jobs like an assistant cook, launder, and a bust boy (Hughes 1). After his year spent at Columbia University in New York City, Hughes travelled to Europe and Africa as a seaman (Rampersad 2). In November of 1924 Langston Hughes moved to Washington D.C. While living in D.C. his first book of poetry was published. This book was called The Weary Blues. Hughes signature poem, "The Negro Speaks of Rivers" was a part of The Weary Blues. Three years later, Langston Hughes finished his college education at Lincoln...