Poet Laureate Langston Hughes was born James Mercer Langston Hughes on February 1, 1902, in Joplin, Missouri into an abolitionist family (Hilstrom). As a child Hughes wrote a lot about being lonely. He didn’t have a very stable life style because His parents, James Hughes and Carrie Langston, separated soon after his birth, and his father moved to Mexico. While Hughes’s mother moved around a lot during his youth, which he continued to do as he grew older. Hughes attended Central High School in Cleveland, Ohio, but began writing poetry in the eighth grade, and was selected as Class Poet (Hilstrom). His father didn't think he would be able to make a living at writing, and encouraged him to pursue a more practical career. He agreed to pay his son's tuition to Columbia University on the grounds he studies engineering. After a short time, Langston dropped out of the program with a B+ average; all the while he continued writing poetry. His first published poem was also one of his most famous, "The Negro Speaks of Rivers", and it appeared in Brownie's Book (rampersad). Later, his poems, short plays, essays and short stories appeared in the NAACP publication Crisis Magazine and in Opportunity Magazine and other publications. Even when Hughes grew older he didn’t really stay in one place for too long. Hughes graduated from high school in 1920 and spent the following year in Mexico with his father. Around this time, Hughes's poem "The Negro Speaks of Rivers" was published in The Crisis magazine and was highly praised. In 1921 Hughes returned to the United States and enrolled at Columbia University where he studied briefly, and during which time he quickly became a part of Harlem's burgeoning cultural movement, what is commonly known as the Harlem Renaissance. But Hughes dropped out of Columbia in 1922 and worked various odd jobs around New York for the following year, before signing on as a steward on a freighter that took him to Africa and Spain. He left the...
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