“Langston Hughes: A Man and his Dream”
Langston Hughes was the prolific “Duke Ellington of African American Poetry.”
James Langston Hughes was born on February 1, 1902 in Joplin, Missouri, into an abolitionist family. Mary Langston, his maternal grandmother’s first husband was with John Brown when he attacked Harpers Ferry in 1859 and was killed there. Her second husband, Hughes grandfather, recruited soldiers for the 54th and 55th Massachusetts Regiment for the Civil War. His great uncle, James Mercer Langston was the first black American to hold public office and was later a professor of law at Harvard University. Hughes mother was a schoolteacher and father was a storekeeper who had wanted to become a lawyer, but had been denied to take the bar exam.
After Hughes parents separated, His father emigrated to Mexico. Hughes mother remarried, and Hughes was sent to live with his grandmother. His youth was marked by nomadic moves, poverty, loneliness and depression that led him to seek escape into the world of books.
Upon the advice and financial backing of his father Hughes enrolled in college at Columbia University to become an engineer. Lonely and depressed Hughes abandoned school after a year to participate in more entertaining jazz and blues activities in nearby Harlem. Soon after, he enlisted as a steward on a freighter to West Africa, and then continued to travel the world, taking odd jobs along the way. Hughes eventually completed his college education at Lincoln University in Pennsylvania.
Few poets have been able to write from inside the black experience like Hughes, and no one has achieved as impressive a body of work that is, of “textural poetry.” His is a poetry feel that is infused with musical patterns with the accompaniment of interwoven words, ultimately creating parts being played and sung in unison; A chorus and a symphony in synchronization.
Langston Hughes has been accepted by people all over the world as one of the most eloquent...