Langston Hughes

Topics: Langston Hughes, Harlem Renaissance, Carl Van Vechten Pages: 6 (939 words) Published: June 8, 2014
Chanel Morgan
4/2/2013
English 1020
Professor Kramer
Research Essay

Langston Hughes achieved much deserved success he is best known for his poetry , however his works did not stop there. Langston Hughes lived all over the world searching for a place that he could call home. Hughes had many positive role models that contributed to his literary success. Playwright, poet, author and novelist Langston Hughes has published a wide range of works that are still recognized today. The fact that Hughes was of African American descent , writing during the 1900’s further exemplifies his drive and determination, refusing to let racial prejudices, and unstable family life set him back . Needless to say despite all life’s challenges Langston Hughes personified literary success. Langston Hughes is known all over the world as a literary phenomenon .

James Mercer Langston Hughes (Miller) did not have a easy life growing up he lived with several relatives ,However he always managed to make a name for himself where ever he went . Langston Hughes was born in Joplin, Missouri on February 1 ,1902(Miller) . Hughes parents divorced while he was still young and was left in the care of his maternal grandmother(Miller). Following her death, he lived with his mother, whose unsettled lifestyle found its roots in Cleveland, Ohio(Miller). Hughes lived in Cleveland until he graduated high school in 1920 (Miller).The next year chose to spend it in Mexico with his father(Miller). Hughes returned to the United States and enrolled in Columbia University(Miller). Hughes studied there briefly ,during that time he quickly became a part of Harlem’s burgeoning cultural movement ;what is commonly known as the Harlem Renaissance. Hughes later dropped out of Columbia, and then worked various odd jobs in New York, before signing on as a steward on a freighter that took him to Africa and Spain(Miller). He left the ship and lived in Paris for a short while, where he continued to develop and publish his poetry(Vintage). By the year 1925 Langston Hughes found himself back in Washington D.C working as a busboy in a hotel restaurant.

Langston Hughes had many positive influences throughout his life that pushed him in the right direction. Hughes first began to get interested in writing when he had read his first book by W.E.B Dubois(Miller). When Hughes was living in Washington D.C Hughes met American Poet Vachel Lindsay (Miller). Hughes Showed some of his poems to Lindsay, who was impressed enough to use his connections to promote Hughes’s poetry and ultimately bring it to a wider audience. Langston Hughes soon after was on the track to success, Hughes’s poem “The Weary Blues” won first prize in the opportunity magazine literary competition and Hughes received a scholarship to Lincoln University in Pennsylvania(Vintage). While studying at Lincoln, Hughes poetry came to the attention of novelist and critic Carl Van Vechten , who used his connections to help Hughes’s first book of poetry “The Weary Blues” by published by Knopf(Vintage ) . The book had a popular appeal and established both his poetic style and his commitment to black themes and heritage.

Langston Hughes had published many different works in his life time . It started in 1920 when Hughes was living in Mexico with his father he wrote a poem called “The Negro Speaks of Rivers” the was featured in a magazine called “The Crisis”(Vintage).1940 Hughes autobiography called “The Big Sea” was published ,around that time Hughes began contributing a column to the Chicago Defender(Vintage). In that column Hughes created a character he called Jesse B. Semple, also known as ‘Simple’(Ariele.) A black man that Hughes used to further explore urban, working-class black themes and to address racial issues . The columns were highly successful ,and ‘Simple” would later be he focus of several of Hughes’s books and plays. Later in that decade, Hughes contributed the lyrics for a Broadway musical titled...

Cited: “Clarke” .“ARIEL An Iteractive Exploration of literature”.1st ed. Yuwerawati,2009.CD-ROM
Hughes,Langston. ”Vintage Hughes”Westminister,2004.Prince Georges Community College Ebrary. Web.3 Apr.2013
Miller,Baxter R. ”Historical Guide to Langston Hughes “. Ed.C.Steven Tracy. North Carolina , 2006 . Prince Georges Community college Ebrary .Web . 1 Apr. 2013
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