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Brief Biography of Langston Hughes: Middle School

The life and writing of Langston Hughes
by Rosa Tinker Diaz on 19 September 2011

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Transcript of Brief Biography of Langston Hughes: Middle School

Langston Hughes Hughes was born in Joplin, Missouri on February 1, 1902 Hughes's parents got divorced after he was born, and his father moved to Mexico. He was an only child. His poem "The Negro Speaks of Rivers" was published in Brownie's Books. This poem was his published work. Hughes worked various jobs including assistant cook, launderer, and bus boy before becoming a crewman on the S.S Malone in 1923. Shortly afer publishing his first poem, other poems, short stories and plays of his started appearing in NAACP publication and in various magazines. Early Life: Father: James Nathanial Hughes
Mother: Carolina Mercer Langston Hughes stayed with his grandmother at her house in Lawrence while his mother moved around trying to find work.

He would sit on her lap, and she would tell him stories about abolitionists and slaves that worked hard and struggled for their freedom. Hughes said, "Through my grandmother's stories always life moved, moved heroically toward an end. Nobody ever cried in my grandmother's stories. They worked, or schemed, or fought. But no crying. When my grandmother died, I didn't cry, either. Something about my grandmother's stories (without her ever having said so) taught me the uselessness of crying about anything." In 1915 Hughes moved to Lincoln, Illinois to live with his mother and step-father, who later settled in Cleveland, Ohio. It was during his time in Lincoln that he started writing. Adult Life: After graduation Langston went to Mexico for a year to visit his father, who didn't think it was a persuable career and forced him to study engineering at Columbia University.
He ended up dropping out after a short amount of time with a B+ grade average and continuing with his writing career. He spent six months traveling to Africa and Europe. He then left the S.S. Malone and remained in Europe for a "vacation" in Paris. While he was in Europe, he became a part of the black expatriate community. He returned to America in November of 1924. Professional Life: Hughes used humor as a shield from pain as inspiration for his writing. He learned this technique from the stories told by his grandmother. Hughes never got married nor did he father any children. Hughes did not only write poetry. He wrote more than sixty books. He wrote sixteen books of poems, two novels, three collections of short stories, four volumes of "editorial" and "documentary" fiction, twenty plays, children's poetry, musicals and operas, three autobiographies, a dozen radio, tv scripts, and dozens of magazine articles. He also edited seven anthologies. Select Books
by langston Hughes Work Cited: He "hated long novels and narrative poems." Langston Hughes often wrote about life in New York, especially an area known as Harlem. In Hughes's time, this area was predominately African-American. He resumed his education and attended college at Lincoln University in 1925. He graduated in 1929. Hughes said, "no great poet has ever been afraid of being himself[herself]." Langston Hughes died on March 22, 1967 of complications with prostate cancer. His first book of poetry titled "The Weary Blues" was published by a man named Alfred A. Knopf in 1926. "Not Without Laughter," his first novel, won the Harmon gold metal for literature. Death: In his memory, his residence at 20 East 127th Street in Harlem, New York City, was given a landmark status by the New York City Preservation Commision. 127th Street was renamed "Langston Hughes Place." Jackson, Andrew P. "Langston Hughes." The Red Hot Jazz Archive. Scoot Alexander, 2010. Web. 21 June 2011. "Langston Hughes-Scholastic.com." Teaching Resources, Children's Book Recommendations, and Student Activities- Scholastic. Scholastic Inc., 2011. Web. 21 June 2011.
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