“Negro” by Langston Hughes deals with the basic description of the history of blacks up to the 1920s. This poem reflects the history of blacks and the trials and tribulations they endured in the past and continue to endure in the resent. Hughes describes himself and his race as having been a slave, worker, singer, and victim who suffered discrimination in several ways from different people in different places. By doing this, Hughes represents the black race as only himself throughout history. Hughes uses allusion, alluding to Julius Caesar, George Washington, and the Woolworth building to show the large role blacks played throughout history.
Hughes uses a plethora of imagery in the poem to reinforce the oppression that blacks were experiencing. For several examples, “Black as the night is black,” gives the reader the idea that blacks are as dark as night, “Black like the depths of my Africa,” creates a mysterious, fictionalized character of blacks, and “They lynch me still in Mississippi,” portrays how the blacks were still victims in 1922. Hughes also allows the reader to recognize the accomplishments of blacks by saying blacks built the Great pyramids of Africa and the Woolworth Building here in America.
The poem resonated with me because the events he describes are the real events my grandparent’s best friends, who are practically family to me, suffered, and enlightens me to how far African-Americans as a people have come. The reader can feel the extreme pain and suffering in his words as he describes the different roles of a “negro”. I like this poem because it reminds on how we as a society progressed; from enslaving one another to do the others bidding to actually working together to advance as a whole.
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