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Langston Hughes

Biography
by

Emily Hull

on 28 January 2014

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Transcript of Langston Hughes

Humble Beginnings
Parents separated shortly after his birth
Lived with grandmother in Missouri
After his grandmother died, he lived with his mother and moved about half a dozen times before settling in Cleveland, Ohio
Graduated high school in 1921
Broken collegiate education
Held low-paying jobs until his writing career succeeded
Renaissance Man
Hughes wrote poems, novels, short stories, essays, operas, biographies, and children's books
1926 - "The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain" essay
called for African Americans to express who they are "without fear or shame"
helped motivate the Harlem Renaissance
Traveled the world
Spent more time in other places than in Harlem
Harlem was a "home base"
Hughes and the Blues
Experimented with a variety of poetic forms
Tried to recreate the rhythms of contemporary jazz and blues
The rhythms could be traced back to slave songs and spirituals
His career began in 1926 with
The Weary Blues
, a book of jazz poems
Langston Hughes (1902-1967)
Biography: A Legendary Writer
In the grand choir of the Harlem Renaissance, Langston Hughes's voice may not have been the loudest or the deepest.
But his poetic distillation of the African American experience in his time produced images and ideas that resonate in American literature to this very day.
Writing and Wandering
Wrote
The Negro Speaks of Rivers
in the early 1920s
Attended Columbia University in New York
Began to explore Harlem, New York
Quit school after one year to work as a steward on a freighter to Africa
Traveled all over Europe
Returned to United States and got a job as a busboy in a hotel restaurant in Washington, D.C.
Recognized by Vachel Lindsay
The Weary Blues
was published in 1926
Earned a scholarship and continued his education
Answer in complete sentences on your own sheet of paper.
Discussion Quesitons
1. How do you think Langston Hughes feels? Why?
2. What is this poem about? How do you know?
3. How did the music add to the poem?
Full transcript