an American poet, social activist, novelist, playwright, and columnist. He was one of the earliest innovators of the then-new literary art form jazz poetry. Hughes is best known for his work during the Harlem Renaissance. He famously wrote about the period that "Harlem was in vogue."
Ancestry and Childhood
Both of Hughes' paternal and maternal great-grandmothers were African-American, his maternal great-grandfather was white and of Scottish descent. A paternal great-grandfather was of European Jewish descent. Hughes's maternal grandmother Mary Patterson was of African-American, French, English and Native American descent. One of the first ... more »
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Langston Hughes Poems
Hold fast to dreams For if dreams die Life is a broken-winged bird That cannot fly.
As I Grew Older
It was a long time ago. I have almost forgotten my dream. But it was there then, In front of me,
Mother to Son
Well, son, I'll tell you: Life for me ain't been no crystal stair. It's had tacks in it, And splinters,
I, too, sing America. I am the darker brother. They send me to eat in the kitchen
April Rain Song
Let the rain kiss you Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops Let the rain sing you a lullaby The rain makes still pools on the sidewalk
My old man's a white old man And my old mother's black. If ever I cursed my white old man I take my curses back.
Let America be America Again
Let America be America again. Let it be the dream it used to be. Let it be the pioneer on the plain Seeking a home where he himself is free.
Democracy will not come Today, this year Nor ever Through compromise and fear.
By what sends the white kids I ain't sent: I know I can't
The calm, Cool face of the river Asked me for a kiss.
To fling my arms wide In some place of the sun, To whirl and to dance Till the white day is done.
The Negro Mother
Children, I come back today To tell you a story of the long dark way That I had to climb, that I had to know In order that the race might live and grow.
Life Is Fine
I went down to the river, I set down on the bank. I tried to think but couldn't, So I jumped in and sank.
In the Quarter of the Negroes Where the doors are doors of paper Dust of dingy atoms Blows a scratchy sound.
(4 April 1928 - 28 May 2014)
(March 26, 1874 – January 29, 1963)
(10 December 1830 – 15 May 1886)
(26 April 1564 - 23 April 1616)
(12 July 1904 – 23 September 1973)
Edgar Allan Poe
(19 January 1809 - 7 October 1849)
(31 May 1819 - 26 March 1892)
(31 October 1795 – 23 February 1821)
Hold fast to dreams
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird
That cannot fly.
Hold fast to dreams
For when dreams go
Life is a barren field
Frozen with snow.