Langston Hughes Biography
Langston Hughes, in full James Mercer Langston Hughes, (born February 1, ?, Joplin, Missouri, U.S.—died May 22, , New York, New York), American writer who was an important figure in the Harlem Renaissance and made the African American experience the subject of his writings, which ranged from poetry and plays to novels and newspaper columns. Dec 26, · Full Name: James Mercer Langston Hughes; Known For: Poet, novelist, journalist, activist; Born: February 1, in Joplin, Missouri; Parents: James and Caroline Hughes (nee Langston) Died: May 22, in New York, New York; Education: Lincoln University of Pennsylvania.
James Mercer Langston Hughes February 1,  — May 22, was an American poet, social activist, novelist, playwright, and columnist from Joplin, Missouri. One of the earliest innovators of the literary art form called jazz poetryHow to allow a program through firewall is best known hughee a leader of the Harlem Renaissance.
He famously wrote about the period that "the Negro was in vogue", which was later paraphrased as "when Harlem was in vogue. Growing up in a series of Midwestern towns, Hughes became a prolific writer at an early age. He moved to New York City as a young man, where lqngston made his career. Although he dropped out, he gained notice from New York publishers, first in The Crisis magazine, and then from book publishers and became known in the creative community in Harlem. He eventually graduated from Lincoln University.
In addition to poetry, Hughes wrote plays, and short stories. He also published several non-fiction works. From toas the civil rights movement was gaining traction, he wrote an in-depth weekly column in a leading black newspaper, The Chicago Defender.
Like many African-Americans, Hughes had a complex ancestry. Both of Hughes' paternal great-grandmothers were hughee Africans, and both of his paternal great-grandfathers were white slave owners in Kentucky. One of the first women to attend Oberlin Collegeshe married Lewis Sheridan Learyalso of mixed racebefore her studies.
Ten years later, inthe widow Mary Ohw Leary married again, into the elite, politically active Langston family.
See The Talented Tenth. After their marriage, Charles Langston moved with his family to Kansas, where he was active as an educator and activist for voting and rights for African Americans. They had two hughfs the second was Langston Hughes, born in in Joplin, Missouri. Langston Hughes grew up in a series of Midwestern small towns. His father left the family soon after the boy was born and later divorced Carrie.
The senior Hughes traveled to Cuba and then Mexico, seeking lansgton escape the enduring racism in the United States. After the separation, Hughes's mother traveled, seeking employment. Langston was raised mainly in Lawrence, Kansasby his maternal grandmother, Mary Patterson Langston.
Through how old is langston hughes black American oral tradition and drawing from the activist experiences of her generation, Mary Langston instilled in her grandson a lasting sense of racial pride.
In his autobiography The Big Seahe wrote: "I was unhappy for a long time, and very lonesome, living with my grandmother. Then it was that books began to happen to me, and I began to believe in nothing but books and the wonderful world in books—where if people suffered, they suffered in beautiful language, not in monosyllables, as we did in Kansas.
After the death of his grandmother, Hughes went to live with family friends, James and Auntie Mary Reed, for two years. Later, Hughes lived again with his mother Carrie in Lincoln, Illinois.
She had remarried when he was an adolescent. The family moved to the Fairfax neighborhood of Cleveland, Ohiowhere he attended Central High School  and was taught by Helen Maria Chesnuttwhom he found inspiring. His writing experiments began when he was young. While in grammar school in Lincoln, Hughes was elected class poet. He stated that in retrospect he thought it was because of the stereotype about African Americans si rhythm. 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 langstkn rhythm, so they hoe me as llangston poet.
During high school in Cleveland, Hughes wrote for the school newspaper, edited the yearbook, and began to write his first short stories, poetry,  and dramatic plays. His first piece of jazz poetry, "When Sue Wears Red", was written while he was in high school. Hughes had a very how to win lottery book relationship with his father, whom he seldom saw when a child. He lived briefly with his father in Mexico in Upon graduating from high school in JuneHughes returned to Mexico to live with his father, hoping to convince him to support his plan to attend Columbia University.
Olv later said that, prior to arriving in Mexico, "I had been thinking about my how old is langston hughes and his strange dislike of his own people. I didn't understand it, because I was a Negro, and I liked Negroes very much. On these grounds, he langsgon willing to provide financial assistance to his son, but did not support his desire to be a writer.
Eventually, Hughes and his father came to a compromise: Hughes would study engineering, so long as he could attend Columbia. His ild provided, Hwo left his father after more than a year. He left in because of racial prejudice among students and teachers.
He was attracted more to the African-American people and neighborhood of Harlem than to labgston studies, but he continued writing poetry. Hughes worked at various odd jobs, before serving a brief tenure as a crewman aboard the S. Malone inspending six months traveling to West Africa and Europe. Malone for a temporary stay in Paris.
During his time in England in the early s, Hughes became part of the black expatriate community. In Novemberhe returned to the U.
After assorted odd jobs, lansgton gained white-collar employment in as a personal assistant to historian Carter G. As the work demands limited his time for writing, Hughes quit the position to work as a busboy at the Wardman Park Hotel. Hughes's earlier work had been published in magazines and was about to be collected into his first book of poetry when he encountered poet Vachel Lindsaywith whom he shared some poems.
Impressed, Lindsay publicized his discovery of a new black poet. The following year, Hughes enrolled in Lincoln University olld, a historically black university in Chester Nughes, Pennsylvania. He joined the Omega Psi Phi fraternity. After Hughes earned a B. Except for travels to the Soviet Union and parts of the Caribbeanhe lived in Harlem as his primary home for the remainder of his life. During the s, he became a resident of Westfield, New Jersey for a time, sponsored by his patron Charlotte Osgood Mason.
Langsgon academics and biographers believe that Hughes was homosexual and included homosexual codes in many of his poems, as did Walt Whitmanwho, Hughes said, influenced his poetry. Hughes's story what is normal blood sugar fasting Assurance" deals with a father's anger over his son's effeminacy and "queerness".
Arnold Rampersadthe primary biographer of Hughes, determined that Hughes exhibited a preference for African-American men in his work and life. Hughes did, however, show a respect and love for his fellow black man and woman. Other scholars argue for his homosexuality: his love of black men is evidenced in a number of reported unpublished poems to an alleged black male lover.
Hhow May 22,Hughes died in the Stuyvesant Polyclinic in New York City at the age of 66 from complications after abdominal surgery related to prostate cancer. His what antibiotics treat upper respiratory infections are interred beneath a floor medallion in the middle si the foyer in ols Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem. The title is taken from his poem " The Negro Speaks of Rivers ".
Within the center of the cosmogram is the line: "My soul has grown deep like the rivers". My soul has olf deep like the lanngston. I bathed in the Euphrates when dawns were young. I hugjes my hut near the Congo and how to make candles in a jar lulled me to sleep. I looked upon the Nile and raised the pyramids above it. I heard the singing of the Mississippi when Abe Lincoln went down to New Orleans, and I've seen its muddy bosom turn all golden in the sunset.
Except for McKay, they worked together also to create the short-lived magazine Fire!! Devoted to Younger Negro Artists. Hughes and his contemporaries had different goals and aspirations than the black middle class.
Hughes and his fellows tried to depict the "low-life" in their art, that is, the real lives of blacks in the lower social-economic strata. They criticized the divisions and prejudices within the black community based on skin color. The younger Negro artists who create now intend to express our individual dark-skinned selves without fear or shame. If white people are pleased we are glad. If they are not, it doesn't matter.
We know we are beautiful. And ugly, too. The tom-tom cries, and the tom-tom laughs. If colored people are pleased we are glad.
If they are not, their displeasure doesn't matter either. We build our temples for tomorrow, strong as we know how, and ,angston stand on top of bughes mountain free within ourselves. His poetry langsston fiction portrayed the lives how to make an ommelette the working-class blacks in America, lives he portrayed as full of struggle, joy, laughter, and music.
How old is langston hughes his work is pride in the African-American identity and its diverse culture. He confronted racial stereotypes, protested social conditions, and expanded African America's image of hughex a "people's poet" who sought lagston reeducate both audience and artist by lifting the theory of the black aesthetic into reality.
The night is beautiful, So the faces of my people. The stars are beautiful, So the eyes of my people Beautiful, also, is the sun. Beautiful, also, are the souls of my people. Hughes stressed a racial consciousness and cultural nationalism devoid of self-hate.
His thought united ol of African descent and Africa across the globe to encourage pride in their diverse black folk culture and black aesthetic. Hughes was one of the few prominent black writers to champion racial consciousness as a source of inspiration for black artists. Hughss radical black self-examination was lqngston in the face of European colonialism.
Langston Hughes was born in Joplin, Missouri, on February 1, , to Carrie M. Langston and James N. Hughes. His parents separated soon after his birth, and Hughes was raised mainly by his mother, his grandmother, and a childless couple, the Reeds. He attended public schools in Kansas and Illinois and upon graduating elementary school, Hughes was named class poet, although he had never even . Langston Hughes. – read poems by this poet. James Mercer Langston Hughes was born February 1, , in Joplin, Missouri. His parents divorced when he was a young child, and his father moved to Mexico. Langston Hughes. – Carl Van Vechten, © Van Vechten Trust. Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University. Langston Hughes was a central figure in the Harlem Renaissance, the flowering of black intellectual, literary, and artistic life that took place in the s in a number of American cities, particularly Harlem.
American author Langston Hughes, a moving spirit in the artistic movement of the s often called the Harlem Renaissance, expressed the mind and spirit of most African Americans for nearly half a century. Langston and James N. His parents separated soon after his birth, and Hughes was raised mainly by his mother, his grandmother, and a childless couple, the Reeds.
He attended public schools in Kansas and Illinois and upon graduating elementary school, Hughes was named class poet, although he had never even written a poem. That title sparked an interest in writing poetry. Hughes graduated from high school in Cleveland, Ohio, in His high school companions, most of whom were white, remembered him as a handsome "Indian-looking" youth whom everyone liked and respected for his quiet, natural ways and his abilities.
He won an athletic letter in track and held offices in the student council and the American Civic Association. In high school Hughes was introduced to the works of poet Carl Sandburg — , another poet from the Midwest.
Also at this time, Hughes himself began writing poetry and developing his unique style. He began submitting his work to magazines, but all were rejected. Hughes spent the year after high school in Mexico with his father, who tried to discourage him from writing. But Hughes's poetry and prose writings were beginning to appear in the Brownie's Book, a publication for children edited by W. Du Bois — , and he was starting work on more ambitious material for adult readers.
The poem "A Negro Speaks of River," which marked this development, appeared in the Crisis magazine in Meanwhile, the Crisis printed several more of his poems. Finding the atmosphere at Columbia unfriendly, Hughes left after a year. He took on odd jobs in New York, and in he signed on to work on a freighter a large ship. His first voyage took him down the west coast of Africa; his second took him to Spain.
In he spent six months in Paris, France. He was relatively happy, produced Langston Hughes. Most of this verse poetry appeared in African American publications, but Vanity Fair, a magazine popular among middle-and upper-class women, published three poems. Later in Hughes went to live with his mother in Washington, D.
He hoped to earn enough money to return to college, but work as a hotel busboy paid very little, and life in the nation's capital, where racial tensions were fierce, made him unhappy. But he was able to write many poems. That summer one of his essays and another poem won prizes in the Crisis literary contest. Meanwhile, Hughes had come to the attention of Carl Van Vechten, a novelist and critic, who arranged publication of Hughes's first volume of poetry, The Weary Blues This book projected Hughes's lasting themes, established his style, and suggested the wide range of his poetic talent.
It showed him committed to racial themes—pride in blackness and in his African heritage, and the everyday life of African Americans—and democracy government ruled by the people and patriotism the support of one's country.
Hughes transformed the bitterness which such themes generated in many African Americans of the day into sharp irony and humor. His casual, folklike style was strengthened in his second book, Fine Clothes to the Jew Hughes had resumed his education in and graduated from Lincoln University in Not without Laughter was his first novel. The story portrays an African American boy, Sandy, caught between two worlds and two attitudes.
The boy's hardworking and respectable mother provides a counterpoint to his energetic, easygoing, footloose father. The mother is oriented to the middle-class values of the white world; the father believes that fun and laughter are the only things worth pursuing. Though the boy's character is blurred, Hughes's attention to the details of African American culture in America gives the novel insight and power.
The relative commercial success of Not without Laughter inspired Hughes to make his living as an author. In he made the first of what became annual lecture tours. The following year he took a trip to the Soviet Union, the former country that today consists of Russia and other smaller nations.
Meanwhile, he turned out poems, essays, book reviews, song lyrics, plays, and short stories. He edited five books of African American writing and worked with Arna Bontemps on another and on a book for children.
As a newspaper columnist for the Chicago Defender, Hughes created "Simple. The sketches of Simple, collected in five volumes, are presented as conversations between an uneducated, African American city dweller, Jesse B. Semple Simple , and an educated but less sensitive African American friend. The sketches that ran in the Defender for twenty-five years are varied in subject and remarkable in their relevance to the universal human condition.
That Simple is a universal man, even though his language, habits, and personality are the result of his particular experiences as an African American man, is a measure of Hughes's genius. Hughes received numerous fellowships scholarships , awards, and honorary degrees, including the Anisfield-Wolf Award for a book on improving race relations. He taught creative writing at two universities; had his plays produced on four continents; and made recordings of African American history, music commentary, and his own poetry.
His work, some of which was translated into a dozen languages, earned him an international reputation. Forty-seven volumes bear Hughes's name. He died in New York City on May 22, Cooper, Floyd.
New York: Philomel Books, Hughes, Langston. The Big Sea: An Autobiography. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, Reprint, New York: Hill and Wang, New York: Rinehart, Meltzer, Milton. Langston Hughes: A Biography. New York: Crowell, Rampersad, Arnold. The Life of Langston Hughes. New York: Oxford University Press, Walker, Alice.
Langston Hughes, American Poet. New York: HarperCollins, Toggle navigation. A career begins Hughes spent the year after high school in Mexico with his father, who tried to discourage him from writing. A literary success Hughes had resumed his education in and graduated from Lincoln University in For More Information Cooper, Floyd. User Contributions: 1. Alando E. Jon Doe. Man, i love this guys poetry i just love it. I read it to my children at school!
Wookie Randle. I think that this essay was very informative. I am writing an essay of my own and this really helped me out with a lot of information that I did not already have. Keep up the good work. Francisco Mora. Comment about this article, ask questions, or add new information about this topic: Name:. E-mail: Show my email publicly. Human Verification:. Public Comment: characters. Send comment. Other articles you might like:. Hughes, Howard Hugo, Victor.