Saturday, April 30, 2011


Langston Hughes was born on February 1, 1902 in Joplin, Missouri. Hughes was the second child of his mother, Carrie Mercer and his father, James Nathaniel Hughes. Hughes’s parents had a disturbed relationship and divorced in Langston’s early childhood years. This event put a big disturbance in the first twelve years of his life because his mother moved out and as a result, and his parents decided to transport him back and forth between a group of different cities. Langston finally settled in with his maternal grandmother in Lawrence, Kansas, where he spent most of his childhood. Hughes's grandmother influenced his life and imagination deeply.

Langston Hughes was an extremely talented African-American poet, also known for his short stories, columns, plays, and novels. He is said to be one of the innovators of jazz poetry, but is best known for his work during the Harlem Renaissance. The Harlem Renaissance was a period in the mid-1920s when the African-American population had reached 150,000. During this period, a whole new African-American culture of art, drama, literature, jazz and blues was born. Langston Hughes took advantage of this period and often wrote about the reality of black men in America. Catherine Hurst, a scholar of the University of South Carolina says that “because Hughes did not waver from his mission, black writing in America has been greatly enriched.”

Works Cited

Hurst, Catherine Daniels. "(James) Langston Hughes." Dictionary of Literary Biography: Twentieth-Century American Dramatists. Ed. John MacNicholas. Vol. 7. Detroit: Gale Research, 1981. Literature Resource Center. Web. 1 April 2011.

Miller Baxter R.. "(James) Langston Hughes." Dictionary of Literary Biography: Afro-American Writers From the Harlem Renaissance to 1940. Ed. Trudier Harris-Lopez and Thadious M. Davis. Vol. 51. Detroit: Gale Research, 1987. Literature Resource Center. Web. 1 April 2011.

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