Langston Hughes was a African American poet who lived in the United States in the mid 1900s. He wrote poems and books about black people to show that they were just like everyone else. Whenever Hughes was treated unfairly, he would pick up his pen and write. He used writing as a way to channel his thoughts and feelings in a peaceful way rather than fighting. He was a true example of practicing what he preached- to love one another. Langston Hughes is one of the most influential American writers and the most popular African American poet of the twentieth century because he used writing rather than violence to express his anger over social injustice
From an early age, Hughes was exposed to social injustice. When he was very young, his father wanted his family to move to Mexico for a better life. His father thought that in America, white people owned everything but in Mexico a black person could own something, too. Hughes ended up staying in America, living with his grandmother. From her stories, he learned about the injustices the black people were put through. He also discovered his love of reading because he loved his grandmother's stories so much. From her he also learned not to cry, which helped him find solace in writing when dealing with injustices throughout his life ( Walker 18-24) .
He went to school and he was known as the class poet. He felt good to know that people enjoyed his poems that he wrote. He fully experienced discrimination when he was trying to find a job and the employers only wanted white workers or treated him unfairly. He didn't cry and he didnt fight. He wrote about it, and he found that when he was sad he sat down and wrote until he felt better. His father helped him see that discrimination was not only a problem that white people brought on but black people could also contribute to it as well. When he went with his dad to Mexico, he realized that his dad hated black people, even though he, too, was black. His father thought that black people should not laugh because they were so poor but the younger Hughes thought it was brave to find joy amidst hardship. His father was discrimnative to his Indian worker but Hughes showed friendship and love. He had come to realize through his father's negative example, he would always love black people for their courage and strength (Meltzer 45-49).
His career really took off when he recieved recognition from a famous poet who read some of his poems. He won medals and money, and he eventually got to the point to where he was making his living off of writing. He was the first African American poet to do so, and he was the first to really focus on writing for the African American culture. A distinguishing feature that appealed to his readers was that he wrote in first person singular. Unlike most others who wrote from the perspective of the collective African American "we", Hughes focused on a person's unique experience of simple everyday life (Aboukhadijeh internet source without pages, do i just put the article name??). He traveled the country reading his books and poetry because most of the black people couldnt afford to buy his books. He was able to see face to face the people he wrote about and the people he wrote for (Walker 23).
Unlike his peers in the Harlem Renaissance in the 1920s, Hughes rose above the response of violence and instead showed people to use a more peaceful way of overcoming social injustice. Another poet of the Harlem Renaissance was Claude McKay. He called for action rather than Hughes' call for reflection. McKay called black men to fight and die with honor. Later in the Civil Rights era, 1950s and 1960s, Hughes frowned upon the violence that was taking place, he said that the writers and artists of this time were angry and shrill. Up unto his death, Hughes kept the simplicity of his earlier writings despite the violent cultural climate (Bloom's Bio Critiques).
Cullen was another poet of the Harlem Renaissance, whos