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My Paper on Langston Hughes

Langston Hughes contributed a tremendous influence on black culture throughout the United States during the era known as the Harlem Renaissance. The movie shows that he was and is considered to be one of the most prolific and most-recognized black poets of the Harlem Renaissance. Hughes was presented with a great opportunity with the rise black art during the 1920's and by his creative style of poetry, which used black culture as its basis and still appealed to all ethnicities. However, Langston Hughes was born into a well to do black family; of course, another Booker T Washington. He was sent to Columbia and was familiar with the white folk along with the benefits of a proper education and harnessing of his potential and abilities. Was this because he was from a line of light skinned folk? I wonder. Why was he not from the ghetto and picked cotton and tilled the farms with his hands till they bled and, then, write poems? This shows me the suppression and supremacy the whites still inevitably held over the blacks; picking and selecting whom was going to be who, where and when.  For Langson to have gained such popularity he had to have kissed the arses of so many white folk; however 'innocent' and much of a 'non sell-out' he claims to be or have been. I think of his work as hypocrisy; like what many of the young black folk nowadays do. They sing and rap of a neighborhood they have never known and will never know, claim to know the hardships and trials those who do reside in this hard neighborhoods go through and fill their lyrics with a bunch of media infested stereotypes and paint their videos with sheer ignorance for the world (Black AND White) to see, and of course in a latter effect - believe. Langston writes of black suffering and pain which of course he must have learned from the books, tales and by going to bourgeoise theaters to see the plays. Nevertheless black folk of the time (and still today) could not see past his facade and once he threw money here and there, was applauded for such an 'audacious' effort and 'inspiration' to the younger black generation. Let the young black children know ALSO where, when and how Langston made his fame, power and fortune. I was so disgusted to hear of Langston's version of discrimination towards him. While in grammar school  in Lincoln, Illinois, Hughes was elected class poet. Hughes stated in retrospect he thought it was because of the stereotype (I wonder what he knew of these) that African Americans have rhythm. "I was a victim of a stereotype. There were only two of us Negro kids in the whole class and our English teacher was always stressing the importance of rhythm in poetry. Well, everyone knows — except us — that all Negroes have rhythm, so they elected me as class poet". Perhaps this was one of the 'many' trials and tribulations Langston faced as a Black man in a primarily racist society. 

I appreciate the fact that Langston craved for the truth. He wanted more than the bed of roses his father provided him and wanted to know first-hand what his people (as he called the Blacks) were suffering. I appreciate that, now THAT is a bold movement. And of course, his 'elegant' father refused such 'mediocre thinking'. Possibly because a conglomeration of Langston's people would shade the light off the sky and cause an assembly of unbearably dark heathens, contrary to the immaculate light skin the white man's seed had fortunately doused on his genealogy of dark skin? I wonder.  I appreciate his quest to be 'black' by every means. Leaving Columbia for Lincoln (a historically black college), joining Omega Psi Phi fraternity Inc. (a Black Greek letter organisation), moving to Harlem (a primarily black neighborhood), 'appreciating' jazz (a black man's music), directing 'black plays' etc. I applaud those efforts, and who knows maybe the black folk of the time saw all this and decided to adopt him as a black man. Shall we undermine Langston's sexuality? Of course not, that would be an incomplete 'biography'. Still, the movie skipped Langston's sexuality. 'Maybe' just maybe his sexuality was not important to the history of his work. Of course not, it was not. We shall sit and play closed-eyes at short stories such as "Blessed Assurance" was about a father's anger over his son's sexuality. There were also several poems discovered that Hughes never had published related to his love for black men. Wait a minute, could Langston's father have been trying to protect him from the harsh criticisms of fellow blacks once they find out about his effeminity, thus wanting to send him to a primarily white school (altoghether wanting to send him abroad)? I wonder. But of course, we will have questions such as how do you know that he was talking about himself?he usally based his peoms on other people that he had meet. Or In "Same in Blues," where Hughes again expresses gender dialogue in the Black community, focusing on the frustration a man feels at not being able to fulfill the male-ascribed role of provider, because of racial and economic conditions: maybe to retain the respect and support of black churches and organizations and avoid exacerbating his precarious financial situation, Hughes remained closeted. Bravo to the most 'respected' man for not being so bold after all. Regardless, the black folk still needed brillaint minds like Hughes to argue their rights in higher places. Take for instance tin 1926, in the Nation, he provided the movement with a manifesto when he skillfully argued the need for both race pride and artistic independence in his most memorable essay, “The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain.”  Who else would know such 'mighty deeds' than a man who has for himself witnessed The Ways of White Folks (a book by Langston Hughes, 1934)? I rest my case and in general applaud Langston Hughes for being courageous enough to take a stance for his people. 

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