Langston Hughes: The Long Tradition of Black Poets

Langston Hughes (James Mercer Langston Hughes) was born February 1, 1902 in Joplin, Missouri to James Nathaniel Hughes and his wife Caroline Mercer Langston, a school teacher. Hughes became a great African American poet, short story writer, novelist, and columnist. Along with such scribes as Claude McKay and W.E.B. Du Bois, Hughes' works had a great influence on the Harlem Renaissance in the USA and the N├ęgritude movement in France and francophone Africa and the Caribbeans. Brother Hughes died May 22, 1967.

In this picture, standing center right, is Hughes as member of the Meschrabpam's American Negro Film Group, includes writer Dorothy West (seated right), on board the Europa on June 17, 1932.
The Negro Mother, a poem by Langston Hughes
Children, I come back today
To tell you a story of the long dark way
That I had to climb, that I had to know
In order that the race might live and grow.
Look at my face -- dark as the night --
Yet shining like the sun with love's true light.
I am the dark girl who crossed the red sea
Carrying in my body the seed of the free.
I am the woman who worked in the field
Bringing the cotton and the corn to yield.
I am the one who labored as a slave,
Beaten and mistreated for the work that I gave --
Children sold away from me, I'm husband sold, too.
No safety, no love, no respect was I due.

Three hundred years in the deepest South:
But God put a song and a prayer in my mouth.
God put a dream like steel in my soul.
Now, through my children, I'm reaching the goal.

Now, through my children, young and free,
I realized the blessing deed to me.
I couldn't read then. I couldn't write.
I had nothing, back there in the night.
Sometimes, the valley was filled with tears,
But I kept trudging on through the lonely years.
Sometimes, the road was hot with the sun,
But I had to keep on till my work was done:
I had to keep on! No stopping for me --
I was the seed of the coming Free.
I nourished the dream that nothing could smother
Deep in my breast -- the Negro mother.
I had only hope then , but now through you,
Dark ones of today, my dreams must come true:
All you dark children in the world out there,
Remember my sweat, my pain, my despair.
Remember my years, heavy with sorrow --
And make of those years a torch for tomorrow.
Make of my pass a road to the light
Out of the darkness, the ignorance, the night.
Lift high my banner out of the dust.
Stand like free men supporting my trust.
Believe in the right, let none push you back.
Remember the whip and the slaver's track.
Remember how the strong in struggle and strife
Still bar you the way, and deny you life --
But march ever forward, breaking down bars.
Look ever upward at the sun and the stars.
Oh, my dark children, may my dreams and my prayers
Impel you forever up the great stairs --
For I will be with you till no white brother
Dares keep down the children of the Negro Mother.


Democracy will not come
Today, this year
        Nor ever
Through compromise and fear.

I have as much right
As the other fellow has
       To stand
On my two feet
And own the land.

I tire so of hearing people say,
Let things take their course.
Tomorrow is another day.
I do not need my freedom
       When I'm dead.
I cannot live on tomorrow's
          Is a strong seed
          In a great need.
          I live here, too.
          I want freedom
          Just as you.

- Langston Hughes

1 comment:

  1. langston hughes is a true legend and make me pround to say that i am a black women


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