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Biography of Langston Hughes

The life and writing of Langston Hughes

Marissa Cortez

on 15 February 2011

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Transcript of Biography of Langston Hughes

Langston Hughes By: Marissa Cortez Hughes was born in Joplin, Missouri on February 1, 1902 Langton's parents got divorced after he was born, and his father moved to Mexico. He was an only child. While living in Cleveland, Langston attended Central High School. He graduated from here in 1920. His poem "The Negro Speaks of Rivers" was published in Brownie's Books. This was his first ever published poem. Langston 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 Langston 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. Langston 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." After the death of his grandmother in 1912, Langston stayed with friends of his family named the Reeds. In 1915 Langston 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. Langston was elected class poet in 1916 at his 8th grade graduation. He said "I was a victim of a stereotype. There were only two of us Negro kids in the whole class and our English teacher was always stressing the importance of rhythm in poetry. Well, everyone knows, except us, that all Negroes have rhythm, so they elected me as class poet."[ 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 6 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 extrapiate community. He returned to America in November of 1924. In 1925, he got a job as Assistant to historian Carter G. Woodson at the Association for the Study of African American Life and History. This limited his writing time, so he quit the job and became a busboy in a hotel. Professional Life: Langston used humor as a shield from pain as inspiration for his writing. He learned this from the stories told by his grandmother. Langston never got married. Some people say he was gay, but it was never a proven fact. Langston didn't only write poetry. He wrote more than 60 books. He wrote 16 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 and tv scripts, and dozens of magazine articles. He also edited seven anthologies. Books by langston Hughes Work Cited: http://www.redhotjazz.com/hughes.html http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Langston_Hughes www.shmoop.com/langston-hughes/childhood.html www.continuinged.ku.edu/hughes/files_city/childhood.html He "hated long novels, and narrative poems." http://www.kirjasto.sci.fi/lhughes.htm http://www.notablebiographies.com/Ho-Jo/Hughes-Langston.html He received the Anisfield Wolf Award in 1953 for a book he wrote on improving race relations. He also won many fellowships (scholarships), other awards, and honorary degrees. He resumed his education and attended college at Lincoln University in 1925. He graduated in 1929 His essay "The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain" appeared in the Nation in 1926. This essay talked about how black poets or writers "would surrender racial pride in the name of a false integration," meaning that a black writer would rather be conidered a poet, not a black poet. To Langston this meant that he subconsciously wanted to write like a white poet. Langston said "no great poet has ever been afraid of being himself." http://famouspoetsandpoems.com/poets/langston_hughes/biography Life Is Fine by Langston Hughes
I went down to the river,
I set down on the bank.
I tried to think but couldn't,
So I jumped in and sank.

I came up once and hollered!
I came up twice and cried!
If that water hadn't a-been so cold
I might've sunk and died.

But it was Cold in that water! It was cold!

I took the elevator
Sixteen floors above the ground.
I thought about my baby
And thought I would jump down.

I stood there and I hollered!
I stood there and I cried!
If it hadn't a-been so high
I might've jumped and died.

But it was High up there! It was high!

So since I'm still here livin',
I guess I will live on.
I could've died for love--
But for livin' I was born

Though you may hear me holler,
And you may see me cry--
I'll be dogged, sweet baby,
If you gonna see me die.

Life is fine! Fine as wine! Life is fine!
One of my favorite poems by Langston Hughes: http://www.biography.com/articles/Langston-Hughes-9346313 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. http://www.nathanielturner.com/langstonhughesbio.htm http://www2.scholastic.com/browse/contributor.jsp?id=1324 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 "Langton Hughes Place."
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