LANGSTON HUGHES The Poet Laureate of Harlem Poet, Essayist, Novelist, Playwright, Journalist and Lyricist (February 1, 1902 - May 22, 1967) by Ted Love.
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Presentation on theme: "LANGSTON HUGHES The Poet Laureate of Harlem Poet, Essayist, Novelist, Playwright, Journalist and Lyricist (February 1, 1902 - May 22, 1967) by Ted Love."— Presentation transcript:
LANGSTON HUGHES The Poet Laureate of Harlem Poet, Essayist, Novelist, Playwright, Journalist and Lyricist (February 1, 1902 - May 22, 1967) by Ted Love and Tracy M. Snell
James Langston Hughes was born in Joplin, Missouri. His mother was a school teacher, she also wrote poetry. His father, James Nathaniel Hughes, was a storekeeper. He had wanted to become a lawyer, but he had been denied to take the bar exam. Hughes's parents separated and his mother moved from city to city in search of work. In his rootless childhood, Hughes lived in Mexico, Topeka, Kansas, Colorado, Indiana and Buffalo. Later the family moved to Cleveland, Ohio, where Hughes's stepfather worked in the steel mills. During this period Hughes found the poems of Carl Sandbury, whose unrhymed free verse influenced him deeply. After graduating from a high school in Cleveland, Hughes spent a year in Mexico with his light-skinned father, who had found there a release as a successful cattle rancher from racism of the North. On the train, when he returned to the north, Hughes wrote one of his most famous poems, 'The Negro Speaks of Rivers'.
When financial strain ended his travels, Hughes returned to the United States. He once again attempted various forms of work, this time in Washington, D.C., where his mother had moved. Besides blue-collar work, he also served briefly in the office of publisher and historian Carter G. Woodson. Although he respected Dr. Woodson's significance to the African American community, Hughes did not like the eye-strain or the detail of his assignments. Nevertheless, he continued to write. In 1925 he won first prize in poetry in Opportunity magazine. He also met writer Carl Van Vechten, who assisted Hughes in securing a book contract with publisher Alfred A. Knopf. Hughes also enjoyed his "discovery" by poet Vachel Lindsay as the "busboy poet."
His prolific literary career was launched in 1926 with a volume of jazz poems, THE WEARY BLUES, written for performance with musical accompaniment in the famous Harlem clubs of the era.
Among his many poetry titles THE NEGRO MOTHER (1931), THE DREAM KEEPER (1932), and MONTAGE OF A DREAM DEFERRED (1951) argue passionately a belief in human equality, a wish for color-blind brotherhood, and a growing disillusionment with the American dream.
Hughes shared his poetry with the common man as he traveled the country. In later years he served as cultural emissary for the United States to Europe and Africa. "An artist," Hughes said, "must always be free to choose what he does, certainly, but must also never be afraid to do what he might choose."
Langston Hughes died in 1967. His Kansas heritage and his grandmother's stories helped shape the words he shared with the world.