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Langston Hughes

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Maggie Woods

on 30 January 2015

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Transcript of Langston Hughes

An Interview with Langston Hughes
What were Some of the Low Points in your Childhood?
• After I was born my parents went through a divorce
• My father moved to Mexico
• My grandmother, Mary took care of me
• She then sadly died when I was fourteen
• This forced me to move in with my mother

What were Some Important Events in Your Early Life?
I was born on Feb. 1st, 1902 in Joplin, Missouri
My parents were James Hughes and Carrie Langston
What Happened After You Moved in with Your Mother?
We moved from city to city and finally settled in Cleveland, Ohio
This is where my poetry had sprouted
My teacher introduced me to the works of Carl Sandburg and Walt Whitman
Do You Remember When You Published One of Your First Writing Pieces ?
My first poem was written in 1921 at age nineteen
It was called, The Negro Speaks of Rivers
My first book was written in 1926 at age twenty four
What are Some of Your Most Famous Quotes?
Poem #1
I,Too,Sing America
Did You Attend a University?
Yes, I attended Columbia University in 1921
I went for only one year and dropped out in 1922
Did You Contribute to Any Works to Literary Magazines?
Yes, in high school my pieces were in the poetry magazine almost every time a new edition came out
I graduated high school in 1920, so after that I tried to get my poetry into other magazines
I was mainly turned down, but one of my poems, The Negro Speaks of Rivers, was accepted into the Crisis Magazine
What Would You Say are the Similarities and Differences Between these Poems?
Similarities:
These two poems are the same because they are both trying to show that all people are equal and you shouldn't be treated by the color of your skin.
People should not worry about what people are going to think about you when you go out of the house
Differences:
The differences between "I,too, sing America and "As I Grew Older." "I,too, Sing America," is about all African American people and "As I Grew Older," is about only about one person.
Another difference is that "I,too, Sing America," talks about making a stand and not letting other people destroy who you are and "As I Grew Older," talks about that everyone is equal.
Did You Ever Spend Time With Your Father?
After I graduated high school in 1920, I spent the next year with my father.
What Sorts of Jobs did you Work After College?
I took a job as a steward on a freighter ship
The captain steered the boat towards Africa and Spain
After a few stops, I got off the ship in Paris in 1924
I stayed in Paris an iota of time and then returned back to the US
In Paris, I continued my writings
Did You Promote Your Own Poetry?
No, while I was in Washington DC in 1925, I bumped into Vachel Lindsay in a restaurant where I worked as a busboy
To say the least, she was astounded by my wonderful technique and wordplay
Since she had connections to "The Show Biz", she had won me a wider audience
What is your connection to this poem?
I wrote this poem because I believe that everyone is equal and African American people should not be treated like they don't matter.
This poem is sad yet strong because the darker brother is getting strong and standing up for what he believes in. It is also saying that everyone is beautiful in their own way and that they shouldn't care what other people say.
What Did You Do in Paris?
By: Maggie Woods and Olivia Costello
One is named "I, Too, Sing America"
Another is called "As I Grew Older"
What are Some of Your Favorite Poems?
What are Your Successes with Lindsay?
In 1925, I wrote "The Weary Blues"
This soon won an award in the Opportunity Magazine
I then received a scholarship to Lincoln University
What Took Place in your Studies at Lincoln University?
A man named Carl Van Vechten became interested in my writings
He used appealing state jazz rhythms to have Knopf publish my book in 1926
What Happened in the Rest of Your Studies at Lincoln University?
I was in a phase of novel writing
Between 1926- 1929 I wrote many novels and short stories such as... "The Ways of White Folks" and "Not Without Laughter"
What did you do after College?
In 1940, I finished my autobiography, "The Big Sea"
I wrote a column in the Chicago Defender,it was a comic strip
My character was Jessie B. Semple
He was a black man that I used to learn more about racism and African American themes
I also contributed to the lyrics of a Broadway Musical which gave me a great deal of money
What Did You Do with this Money?
I bought a house in Harlem and finally settled down
I then became a lecturer at Atlanta University
When Did You Sadly Pass Away?
I sadly passed away May 22, 1967 due to prostate cancer
My legacy lived on for many years and especially because I started to end segregation.
In 1919,before I graduated high school I spent a brief time with my father
Poem#2: "As I Grew Older"
What are Your Connections to this Poem?
I was expressing the differences in discrimination in this poem. I am trying to show that there is no limit for white people. They could sit on the bus wherever they want or work wherever they can, but there should be no limit for African Americans either. What is the difference between white and black. It should not be illegal to mix two colors. Any white person has no blockade, but African Americans do and they shouldn't. So lets break down the wall!
Full transcript