Research Paper: Langston Hughes
The more I read of James Mercer Langston Hughes more commonly known by his two last names, Langston Hughes, the more I could only imagine how cool it would have been to have had him as a peer of mine. James Mercer Langston Hughes was born in Joplin, Missouri on February 1, 1902. Langston's parents, James Nathaniel Hughes and Carrie Mercer Langston, divorced when he was very young. Because of his mother constant travel to find jobs, Langton was left to live with his grandmother.
Being raised by his grandmother, Langston would be entertained by reading books and listening to his grandmother’s old stories of his family history and life as an African American. He would soon learn that he was the great, great grandson of Charles Henry Langston, brother of John Mercer Langston, was the first Black American to be elected to public office in 1855. Langston’s grandmother preached the importance of education and African American culture. I believe Langston found his love for the African American culture through his grandmother and expressed himself through poetry and writing. At the age of 12, Langston moved away from his grandmother to live with his mother and her new husband. He would soon begin to write poetry in eighth grade. Although Langston moved a lot, he always managed to succeed at school. Throughout his early childhood years Langston Hughes was popular in school. In middle school, he was titled class poet and in high school he was voted class poet and school yearbook editor. Although it seemed that young Langston Hughes succeeded and enjoyed writing, his father did not think it was a career worth pursuing. His father would agree to pay for his tuition as long as he studied engineering at Columbia University. Langston accepted his father’s bargain, but would later drop out with a B+ to pursue his love for writing and poetry. He would then travel all around the world writing about his interpretation of life and different adventures that would come his way. When he had free time Langston would enjoy himself at the nearest jazz clubs. Langston would find a rhythm with the jazz beats to enhance his poetry. Not only where his words and emotions expressed through his poetry but now jazz soloist were turning his poetry into music. Langston Hughes would also contribute to the music world by writing several songs that fit the jazz genre.
In 1924, Langston Hughes returned to Harlem where his poetry and writings were frequently published. At this time in history, Harlem was going through the “Harlem Renaissance” a period in time also known as the “New Negro Movement”, a cultural movement in central Harlem, New York. Many French-speaking black writers in Paris and other places around the world would be influenced by the Harlem Renaissance. A few years later, Langston Hughes would receive a scholarship to Lincoln University in Pennsylvania, where he would receive a B.A. degree in 1929. In 1935, he was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship, in 1940, he received a Rosen Wald Fellowship, and in 1943, Langston was honored by his alma mater with an Honorary Lit. D. I believe writing was Langston’s love, passion, and work. Throughout his forty years he wrote sixteen books of poems, two novels, three collections of short stories, four volumes of "editorial" and "documentary" fiction, twenty plays, children's poetry, musicals and operas, three autobiographies, a dozen radio and television scripts, and dozens of magazine articles. In addition, he edited seven anthologies. Numerous scholars and African Americans from around the world have nickname Langston Hughes “Harlem’s Poet”, a very powerful title, knowing that several popular poets and writers have come from Harlem. Langston Hughes is also known as one of the most inspirational figures in African American History. He was a master at expressing his feelings and experiences through his writings and poetry. One of the most popular pieces of work that...
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