Essay On Langston Hughes And The Harlem Renaissance

Langston Hughes and the Harlem Renaissance Essay

2223 WordsNov 9th, 20149 Pages

Langston Hughes and the Harlem Renaissance Harlem Renaissance was undoubtedly a cultural and social-political movement for the African American race. The Renaissance was many things to people, but it is best described as a cultural movement in which the high level of black artistic cultural production, demanded and received recognition. Many African American writers, musicians, poets, and leaders were able to express their creativity in many ways in response to their social condition. Until the Harlem Renaissance, poetry and literature were dominated by the white people and were all about the white culture. One writer in particular, Langston Hughes, broke through those barriers that very few African-American artists had done before this…show more content…

Hughes was a great writer with much diversity in his types of writings. His poetry was a way for us to see a picture of urban life during the Harlem Renaissance, the habits, attitudes, and feelings of his oppressed people. These poems did more than reveal the pain of poverty, it also illustrated racial pride and dignity. “His main concern was the uplift of his people, whose strengths, resiliency, courage, and humor he wanted to record as part of the general American experience” (Wikipedia, Langston Hughes). Hughes was not ashamed of his heritage and his main theme, “black is beautiful,” was expressed and shared to the world through his poetry. During the literary movement, music was central to the cultural movement of the Harlem Renaissance, which was a main feature of Hughes’s poetry. He had an important technical influence by his emphasis on folk, jazz, and blues rhythms as the basis of his poetry of racial pride. Hughes used this unique style of writing because it was important to him to have the readers feel and experience what they were reading, “to recognize the covert rhetoric in lyric means to appreciate the overlap between emotive and discursive poetry. Rooted in song, the lyric reestablishes the ritual of human communion” (Miller 52). The poem that I felt reflected Langston’s lyrical style and expressed the struggles of his people was, “Trumpet Player”. After reading it many times

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Essay on The Harlem Renaissance and Langston Hughes

1038 Words5 Pages

Langston Hughes was one of the most important writers and thinkers of the
Harlem Renaissance in the 1920s, which was the first major movement of African-
American life and culture. Hughes was influenced by living in New York City's Harlem, where his literary works helped shape American literature and politics. Hughes strong sense of racial pride helped him promote equality, celebrate African-
American culture, and condemn racism through his poetry, novels, plays, essays, and children's books (America’s Library). Hughes is referred to as a literary phenomenon. He was one of the first African-
American men of literature who was determined to make a productive and profitable career out of his writing. The historical…show more content…

One of his teachers introduced him to Carl Sandburg and Walt Whitman's poetry, who stood out as Hughes primary influences. Hughes graduated from high school in 1920 and spent the following year in Mexico with his father. Around this time, Hughes's poem
"The Negro Speaks of Rivers" was published in The Crisis magazine and was highly praised (The Biography Channel). In 1921, Hughes enrolled at Columbia University where he studied briefly, and during this time he quickly became a part of the Harlem Renaissance. Four years later, he was working as a busboy in a Washington, D.C. hotel restaurant when he met an
American poet Vachel Lindsay. Hughes showed some of his poems to Lindsay, who used his connections to promote Hughes’s poetry and bring it towards a wider audience.
Hughes’s poem, “The Weary Blues” won first prize in the Opportunity magazine literary competition. While studying at Lincoln, Hughes poetry came to the attention of novelist and critic Carl Van Vechten, who used his connections to help get Hughes’s first book of poetry, “The Weary Blues”, published by Knopf in 1926. Hughes was also among the first to use jazz rhythms and dialect to depict the life of urban blacks in his work (The
Biography Channel). During the 1930s he continued to write and publish poetry and prose during this time, and in 1934 he published his first collection of short stories, The Ways

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