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James Langston Hughes Megan Kettmann. The Early Years… Born in Joplin, Missouri on February 1, 1902 Born in Joplin, Missouri on February 1, 1902 His great-great-uncle,

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Presentation on theme: "James Langston Hughes Megan Kettmann. The Early Years… Born in Joplin, Missouri on February 1, 1902 Born in Joplin, Missouri on February 1, 1902 His great-great-uncle,"— Presentation transcript:

1 James Langston Hughes Megan Kettmann

2 The Early Years… Born in Joplin, Missouri on February 1, 1902 Born in Joplin, Missouri on February 1, 1902 His great-great-uncle, John Mercer Langston, was the first Black American to be elected to public office in His great-great-uncle, John Mercer Langston, was the first Black American to be elected to public office in Began writing poetry in the eighth grade and was selected as Class Poet. Began writing poetry in the eighth grade and was selected as Class Poet. He attended Central High School in Cleveland, Ohio. He attended Central High School in Cleveland, Ohio. His father pushed him to pursue a more practical career than writing and paid for his son’s tuition to Columbia University. His father pushed him to pursue a more practical career than writing and paid for his son’s tuition to Columbia University.

3 The Transition… After studying engineering for a year at Columbia, he dropped out of school with a B+. After studying engineering for a year at Columbia, he dropped out of school with a B+. He held odd jobs as an assistant cook, launderer and a busboy as well as traveling to Africa and Europe working as a ship’s steward. He held odd jobs as an assistant cook, launderer and a busboy as well as traveling to Africa and Europe working as a ship’s steward. For most of 1924, he lived in Montparnasse, in Paris, France For most of 1924, he lived in Montparnasse, in Paris, France In 1924, he spent time in Harlem, New York during the Harlem Renaissance. In 1924, he spent time in Harlem, New York during the Harlem Renaissance. In November of 1924, he moved to Washington DC. In November of 1924, he moved to Washington DC.

4 The Beginning of a New Career… The first book of poetry by Langston Hughes, The Weary Blues, was published in The first book of poetry by Langston Hughes, The Weary Blues, was published in He then went back to school at Lincoln University in Pennsylvania and received his BA in He then went back to school at Lincoln University in Pennsylvania and received his BA in His first novel, Not Without Laughter, won the Harmon gold medal for literature in His first novel, Not Without Laughter, won the Harmon gold medal for literature in He claimed Paul Lawrence Dunbar, Carl Sandburg and Walt Whitman to be his primary influences. He claimed Paul Lawrence Dunbar, Carl Sandburg and Walt Whitman to be his primary influences.

5 His Legacy Is known for his insightful, colorful portrayals of black life in America from the twenties through the sixties. Is known for his insightful, colorful portrayals of black life in America from the twenties through the sixties. He wrote novels, short stories, plays and poetry. He wrote novels, short stories, plays and poetry. Is known for the influence of blues and jazz on his writing. Is known for the influence of blues and jazz on his writing. The title of the Play Raisin in the Sun was taken from a line in “Montage of a Dream Deferred”. The title of the Play Raisin in the Sun was taken from a line in “Montage of a Dream Deferred”. He wanted to tell the stories of his people in ways that reflected their actual culture, including both their suffering and their love of music, laughter, and language itself. He wanted to tell the stories of his people in ways that reflected their actual culture, including both their suffering and their love of music, laughter, and language itself.

6 His Final Days Langston Hughes died of complications from prostate cancer on May 22, 1967 at the age of 65. Langston Hughes died of complications from prostate cancer on May 22, 1967 at the age of 65. His residence at 20 East 127 th Street in Harlem was made a landmark and his block of East 127 th Street was renamed “Langston Hughes Place”. His residence at 20 East 127 th Street in Harlem was made a landmark and his block of East 127 th Street was renamed “Langston Hughes Place”.

7 The Weary Blues Droning a drowsy syncopated tune, Rocking back and forth to a mellow croon, I heard a Negro play. Down on Lenox Avenue the other night By the pale dull pallor of an old gas light He did a lazy sway... He did a lazy sway... He did a lazy sway... To the tune o' those Weary Blues. With his ebony hands on each ivory key He made that poor piano moan with melody. O Blues! Swaying to and fro on his rickety stool He played that sad raggy tune like a musical fool. Sweet Blues! Coming from a black man's soul. O Blues! In a deep song voice with a melancholy tone I heard that Negro sing, that old piano moan– "Ain't got nobody in all this world, Ain't got nobody but ma self. I's gwine to quit ma frownin' And put ma troubles on the shelf." Thump, thump, thump, went his foot on the floor. He played a few chords then he sang some more– "I got the Weary Blues And I can't be satisfied. Got the Weary Blues And can't be satisfied– I ain't happy no mo' And I wish that I had died." And far into the night he crooned that tune. The stars went out and so did the moon. The singer stopped playing and went to bed While the Weary Blues echoed through his head. He slept like a rock or a man that's dead.

8 Dreams Hold fast to dreams For if dreams die Life is a broken-winged bird That cannot fly. Hold fast to dreams For when dreams go Life is a barren field Frozen with snow. Po’ Boy Blues When I was home de Sunshine seemed like gold. When I was home de Sunshine seemed like gold. Since I come up North de Whole damn world's turned cold. I was a good boy, Never done no wrong. Yes, I was a good boy, Never done no wrong, But this world is weary An' de road is hard an' long. I fell in love with A gal I thought was kind. Fell in love with A gal I thought was kind. She made me lose ma money An' almost lose ma mind. Weary, weary, Weary early in de morn. Weary, weary, Early, early in de morn. I's so weary I wish I'd never been born. Dream Variation To fling my arms wide In some place of the sun, To whirl and to dance Till the white day is done. Then rest at cool evening Beneath a tall tree While night comes on gently, Dark like me– That is my dream! To fling my arms wide In the face of the sun, Dance! Whirl! Whirl! Till the quick day is done. Rest at pale evening... A tall, slim tree... Night coming tenderly Black like me.

9 Style Mix between free style and rhyme schemes Mix between free style and rhyme schemes Tends to stick to a rough A,B,C,B rhyme scheme Tends to stick to a rough A,B,C,B rhyme scheme Has a very blues-y, jazzy tone Has a very blues-y, jazzy tone Is very characteristic of the Harlem Renaissance Is very characteristic of the Harlem Renaissance Represents and demonstrates Langston Hughes’ life Represents and demonstrates Langston Hughes’ life

10 Bibliography Jackson, Andrew P. "James Langston Hughes." The Red Hot Jazz Archive. 11 May 2005 Jackson, Andrew P. "James Langston Hughes." The Red Hot Jazz Archive. 11 May 2005 . "Langston Hughes." Poetry Exhibits The Academy of American Poets. 11 May 2005 "Langston Hughes." Poetry Exhibits The Academy of American Poets. 11 May 2005 . "Langston Hughes." Wikipedia. 10 May May 2005.


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