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American Poet Research Project

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Mrs.Wilson

American Poet Research Project

1/31/18

Langston Hughes was born on February 1, 1902, in Joplin, Missouri. He published his first poem in 1921. He attended Columbia University, but left after one year to travel. His poetry was later promoted by Vachel Lindsay, and Hughes published his first book in 1926. He went on to write countless works of poetry, prose and plays, as well as a popular column for the Chicago Defender. He died on May 22, 1967.

Hughes graduated from high school in 1920 and spent the following year in Mexico with his father. Around this time, Hughes’ 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.

After his graduation from Lincoln in 1929, Hughes published his first novel, Not Without Laughter. The book was commercially successful enough to convince Hughes that he could make a living as a writer. During the 1930s, Hughes would frequently travel the United States on lecture tours, and also abroad to the Soviet Union, Japan, and Haiti. He continued to write and publish poetry and prose during this time, and in 1934 he published his first collection of short stories, The Ways of White Folks. 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 ship in 1924 and lived for a brief time in Paris, where he continued to develop and publish his poetry. In November 1924, Hughes returned to the United States and worked various jobs. In 1925, he was working as a busboy in a Washington, D.C. hotel restaurant when he met American poet Vachel Lindsay. Hughes showed some of his poems to Lindsay, who was impressed enough to use his connections to promote Hughes’ poetry and ultimately bring it to a wider audience.

In 1925, Hughes’ poem “The Weary Blues” won first prize in the Opportunity magazine literary competition, and Hughes also received a scholarship to attend Lincoln University, in Pennsylvania. one of his teachers first introduced him to the poetry of Carl Sandburg and Walt Whitman, both whom Hughes would later cite as primary influences.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 ship in 1924 and lived for a brief time in Paris, where he continued to develop and publish his poetry.In November 1924, Hughes returned to the United States and worked various jobs. In 1925, he was working as a busboy in a Washington, D.C. hotel restaurant when he met American poet Vachel Lindsay. Hughes showed some of his poems to Lindsay, who was impressed enough to use his connections to promote Hughes’ poetry and ultimately bring it to a wider audience. In 1925, Hughes’ poem “The Weary Blues” won first prize in the Opportunity magazine literary competition, and Hughes also received a scholarship to attend Lincoln University, in Pennsylvania.

On May 22, 1967, Langston Hughes died from complications of prostate cancer. A tribute to his poetry, his funeral contained little in the way of spoken eulogy, but was filled with jazz and blues music. Hughes’ ashes were interred beneath the entrance of the Arthur Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem. The inscription marking the spot features a line from Hughes’ poem “The Negro Speaks of Rivers.” It reads: “My soul has grown deep like the rivers.”Hughes’ Harlem home, on East 127th Street, received New York City Landmark status in 1981 and was added to the National Register of Places in 1982. Volumes of his work continue to be published and translated throughout the world.Hughes’ Harlem home, on East 127th Street, received New York City Landmark status in 1981 and was added to the National Register of Places in 1982. Volumes of his work continue to be published and translated throughout the world.

Works Cited

“Langston Hughes.” Biography.com, A&E Networks Television, 18 Jan. 2018, www.biography.com/people/langston-hughes-9346313.Google Search, Google, www.google.com/search?q=langston%2Bhughes.McKissack, Pat, and Fredrick McKissack. Langston Hughes: Great American Poet. Enslow Publishers, 2002.

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