Langston Hughes Rachel Ingraham “Like a welcome summer rain, humor may suddenly cleanse and cool the earth, the air and you.”
Family & Education Background Parents: Carrie (Caroline) Mercer Langston and James Nathaniel Hughes Langston Hughes was born on February 1, 1902 inJoplin, Missouri Hughes was born into a mixed race family, he was African American, White American, and Native American. He was constantly ridiculed growing up because he was mixed race.
Family & Education Background • Langston Hughes’ father left the United States to escape the racial prejudice that stopped him from practicing law. He eventually settled in Mexico. • He lived with his grandmother while his mother jumped from job to job • His grandmother died when he was 13, so he went back to live with his mother, eventually he went to live with his father, but their relationship was strained • His father didn’t believe in poetry • He enrolled at Columbia University to study engineering but dropped out and travelled to Africa, Holland, and Paris • He completed his education at Lincoln University receiving a B.A. degree
Death • Hughes died on May 22nd, 1967 due to complications of prostate cancer. At his funeral rather than a long eulogy being read, there was jazz/blues music played as a tribune to his poetry
Interesting Facts When Langston Hughes died he requested that someone would plant Boston Ivy which crept up the walls and eventually luxuriated. He asked for this so everyone would know which house was his. Hughes also turned a patch of earth trampled by children into a garden where the children grew flowers with him and learned a very valuable lesson.
Interesting Facts • Hughes wrote that he was often lonely living with his grandmother, who was elderly and a stern woman. • Langston Hughes began writing while he was still a student in high school when he became a columnist for the school paper. He used his talent for writing to become a well-respected author, poet and social commentator • He wrote some of his poems to mimic jazz music with words • After his graduation from Lincoln in 1929, he published his first novel, Not Without Laughter.
Themes • Langston Hughes often had themes of his poems referring to the conflicts between races. He was a proud African American that often stood behind his point that he believes that we should live equally. He often wrote poems where he dreams of a world where people will not judge. His poems for the most part are happy and uplifting
Poetry Style • Happy/hopeful poems • Poems about dreams • Common rhyming pattern • “A B C B D E F E” • Jazz/Blues music inspired his poetry • He would use humor, loneliness, and despair, to imitate the sound of blues and jazz music with words.
Helen Keller She,In the dark,Found lightBrighter than many ever see.She,Within herself,Found loveliness,Through the soul's own mastery.And now the world receivesFrom her dower:The message of the strengthOf inner power.
Dreams Hold fast to dreamsFor if dreams dieLife is a broken-winged birdThat cannot fly.Hold fast to dreamsFor when dreams goLife is a barren fieldFrozen with snow.
Cross My old man's a white old manAnd my old mother's black.If ever I cursed my white old manI take my curses back.If ever I cursed my black old motherAnd wished she were in hell,I'm sorry for that evil wishAnd now I wish her wellMy old man died in a fine big house.My ma died in a shack.I wonder were I'm going to die,Being neither white nor black?
Citations • http://allpoetry.com/Langston_Hughes • http://www.findfast.org/facts-about-langston-hughes.htm • http://www.continuinged.ku.edu/hughes/files_city/childhood.html • http://gardenhistorygirl.blogspot.com/2009/02/langston-hughes-childrens-garden-1955.html