"A Negro Speaks of Rivers" by Langston Hughes

Essay by DemekaUniversity, Bachelor'sA, March 2003

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Langston Hughes Speaks of Negro Struggle

Earlier in time, African-Americans were referred to as "negros". Negros had experienced a lot of strife during the years. In the poem "The Negro Speaks of Rivers", Langston Hughes, an African-American author, wrote of life and struggles of the negro throughout time. He wrote these struggles though the use of different rivers to help put the events in order. Civilizations were developed by rivers to create a water source. He wrote of negro living by rivers and what was seen through the negro's eyes.

Hughes wrote of the Euphrates River were negros bathed in the beginning of civilization, this was indicated by the phrase, "I bathed in the Euphrates when dawns were young". (Line 5) Life began in the Garden of Eden where the Euphrates River flowed from. Negros in the poem are in the beginning of time. Adam and Eve in the Bible are casted away form the Garden of Eden to labor and toil over the land.

This is a struggle. Working the land to feed yourself and family is a hard task.

The next river mentioned is the Congo River. The Congo River is found in the equatorial region of Africa. In the poem Hughes wrote that huts were built "...near the Congo and it lulled me to sleep." (6) Negros had to build their own shelter and develop cities near the water source. Negros did not have buildings or houses; any shelter was created out of grass and tree limbs.

"I looked upon the Nile and raised the pyramids above it". (7) Egypt was erected by the Nile River, the life giving river as it referred to as by the Egyptians. Hughes wrote of slaves who built the pyramids for Egyptian Kings and Queens. Slavery was a manger struggle in...