Dedication to Langston Hughes
By Alivia Wenze, Senior
“Well, children, I’ll tell you:”
Life for me was full of the blues.
My pops was white,
And my momma was black.
My life had splits, tacks, and cracks.
I grew up alone always feeling blue,
I read books to drown out the gloomy tune.
Harlem, New York, my home full of music and dreams.
I always reach and fought for
Change in America between the races.
I “held fast to my dreams” of being a successful black poet.
Through the blues of it all,
My work remains a soulful tune!
More about Langston Hughes
By Dyuna Soledade, Kameryn Young, and Alivia Wenze, Seniors
America is a nation founded on racial division. Throughout history, this precedent has become abundantly clear as a stranglehold on American society despite the progressive social reform that advocates for the acceptance and equality of all. Langston Hughes used his platform as a famous poet to chronicle the constant agony of racial injustice and highlight the discrimination he was subjected to throughout his lifetime.
Born in 1902 to a biracial father and African American mother, Hughes identified with his African American heritage, serving as the basis for much of his poems. According to The Bedford Introduction to Literature, Hughes argued that the younger generation of “Negro artists” created their artwork with the intent to “express [their] individual dark-skinned selves without fear or shame,” constantly taking pride of his heritage despite his father abandoning him and his mother because he “could not accommodate the racial prejudice and economic frustration” that came with his biracial background (1160) . Additionally, according to an online biographical article by Scholastic, Hughes was sent to live with his grandmother until the age of 13, who “transferred to him her love of literature and the importance of becoming educate.”
Most of his inspiration came from the transformational Harlem Renaissance that highlighted the artistic vitalization of the African American community, providing a catalyst for Hughes to create his legacy of free expression through his poetry. Much of his work at that time was ignored despite the heavy allusions to black culture. It was only during the the First World Festival of Negro Arts that he was established a “historic artistic figure.”
Meyer, Michael. “A Study of Langston Hughes.” The Bedford Introduction to
Literature. Boston, Bedford/St. Martins, 2008.
“Langston Hughes.” Scholastic, www.scholastic.com/teachers/authors/