The poem I selected “Mother to Son” was written by the great African American poet Langston Hughes. Langston Hughes was born in 1902 in Joplin, Missouri, and grew up in Lawrence, Kansas, also living in Ohio, Illinois, and Mexico. He entered Columbia University, and upon leaving there in 1922 he worked on a freighter down the west coast of Africa and lived for several months in Paris before returning to the United States late in 1924. In his poem “Mother to Son”, Hughes compares a mother sharing her experiences with her son to that of a crystal stair.
I found this poem to be very emotionally moving because it tells of our story as African Americans in this country. The mother begins by telling her son that life for her aint been no crystal stair, it has had tacks in it, splinters, boards torn up, places where there haven’t been any carpet and bare. The beginning stanza of the poem serves as a reminder of the plight of African Americans here in America. Life for us has truly not been a crystal stair, we have certainly experienced a great deal or hardship as a people from the first time our feet touched these shores. This poem speaks of us being stolen from our homeland, and being sold into slavery. It speaks of us being placed in cages on the beach, as we awaited the slave ships to come and whisk us away from to uncertainty. It tells of the horror that we faced in the cage, and the fact that the cage still has the odor from us being packed in there like sardines to this very day.
It tells of the desperation that many of our ancestors felt as they stood on the shore and saw there homeland fade into oblivion. It tells of the desperation that they faced as they decided to throw themselves over board to re-connect with their homeland. The poem further tells of how every day the slave ship captain and sailors would continually violate our mothers, sisters, wives, and daughters. It also tells how every morning the captain would search the hull of the ship and gather...
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