Essay on Langston Hughes

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Many leaders in today’s society possess characteristics that determine how they are either chosen or self-made. These characteristics could range from being a charismatic, transformational, motivational, or influential leader. Each has its own meaning, but it is possible for leaders to possess more than one characteristic. Being a charismatic leader consists of having a charming and colorful personality. As the text reads, “In the study of leadership, charisma is a special quality of leaders whose purposes, powers, and extraordinary determination differentiate them from others." A transformational leader focuses on accomplishments. They bring about major, positive changes by moving group members beyond their self-interests and toward the good of the group, organization, or society. A motivational and an influential leader basically share the same characteristics. A leader who is motivational and influential encourages those who follow to accomplish whatever task or goal is at hand.

The leader we chose to do possess both transformational and motivational/influential characteristics of a leader. This leader motivated and transformed many lives, encouraging many African Americans to engage in more literature, writing, and reading. Langston Hughes, or by birth, James Mercer Langston Hughes impacted many live during the Harlem Renaissance Era. He was an African American poet, social activist, novelist, playwright, and columnist. He was one of the earliest innovators of the then-new literary art form jazz poetry who is best known for his work during the Harlem Renaissance. He famously wrote about the period that "the Negro was in vogue" which later change into “when Harlem was in vogue.”

Langston Hughes was born February 1, 1902 in Joplin, Missouri, the second child of school teacher Carrie Mercer Langston and James Nathaniel Hughes. Langston Hughes grew up in a series of Midwestern small towns. Hughes's father left his family and later divorced Carrie, going to Cuba, and then Mexico, seeking to escape the enduring racism in the United States. After separation, Hughes’s mother traveled around the states looking for employment, leaving his grandmother, Mary Patterson Langston, to raise him in Lawrence, Kansas. After the death of his grandmother, Hughes left to stay with friends for two years. Before her death, his grandmother instilled in him the importance of literature, writing, and racial significance. This spark influenced him to read and write his thoughts daily in a journal he kept.

Soon after, Hughes left and lived with his mom, who remarried, in Cleveland, Ohio, where he attended high school. During his school years, Hughes was elected class poet where later he edited year books and began writing poems, short stories, and dramatic plays. His first piece of jazz poetry was entitled “When Sue Wears Red”. It was at this point where Hughes discovered his love for books. Hughes worked various odd jobs, before serving a brief tenure as a crewman aboard the S.S. Malone in 1923, spending six months traveling to West Africa and Europe. In Europe, Hughes left the S.S. Malone for a temporary stay in Paris. During his time in England in the early 1920s, he became part of the black expatriate community. In November 1924, Hughes returned to the states to live with his mother in Washington D.C. Hughes worked at various jobs before gaining a white-collar job in 1925 as a personal assistant to the historian Carter G. Woodson at the Association for the Study of African American Life and History. As the work demands limited his time for writing, Hughes quit the position to work as a busboy at the Wardman Park Hotel. There he encountered the poet Vachel Lindsay, with whom he shared some poems. Impressed with the poems, Lindsay publicized his discovery of a new black poet. By this time, Hughes's earlier work had been published in magazines and was about to be collected into his first book of poetry. The following year, Hughes...
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