Langston Hughes

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Ian Mashburn
Biography
12/10/12
Langston Hughes
Langston Hughes is an African American poet who grew up in the early 20th century. He was most known for being one of the earliest innovators of jazz poetry. Hughes is best known for his work during the Harlem Renaissance. He famously wrote about the period that "the negro was in vogue". Hughes is one of history’s top poet because of his radical approach to civil rights. Hughes advocated violence often rather peace with whites.

Hughes grew up in multiple Midwestern towns with his mother. He was born February 1, 1902 in Joplin Missouri. His father had left the country when Hughes was a young boy to escape the American racism. Hughes’s mother was often never around due to traveling work. Hughes was therefore raised by his grandmother, Mary Langston, in Kansas. Hughes grandmother instilled the racial pride Hughes later exhibited in his poems. Hughes grandmother died and he went to live with family friends and later with his mother in Illinois. During elementary school, Hughes was chosen as the class poet. The two then moved to Cleveland Ohio, where Hughes attended high school. This was when Hughes found his love of reading and writing. Hughes wrote for the school paper, edited yearbook and wrote stories and poetry. In high school he wrote his first Jazz poem, “When Sue Wears Red.” After graduation Hughes visited his father in Mexico, hoping to earn his approval of going to Columbia. However, his father only wanted Hughes to go study engineering abroad. Hughes was able to attend Columbia, but studied engineering. He was extremely bright, but dropped out due to racism. Life was slow for Hughes after dropping out. He ended up working as a crewman on the S.S. Malone for six months. He left the job and stayed in Paris in a black expatriate community. He once again returned to the U.S. and lived with his mother, now in Washington D.C. His first good job came when he was a personal assistant for...
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