What Is Langston Hughes Real Name

Many authors are known by their pen names and not their birth names, and Langston Hughes is no exception. Hughes was born as James Mercer Langston Hughes in Joplin, Missouri on the 1st of February 1902 and was named after his paternal grandfather, James Langston. Hughes part of the slowly increasing African-American population in the United States and the world at the beginning of the 20th century. As a baby he moved to Lawrence, Kansas with his mother and father, Carol and James Hughes, who eventually separated. The racial prejudice of the time and the budding civil rights movement heavily influenced his family, which is also evident in his work.

Hughes’ education began at a young age. He attended church schools in Kansas but his mother’s work as a waitress and laundry maid eventually forced them to relocate to Cleveland. He attended Central High School but dropped out in his junior year without obtaining a diploma. All the while, he was still pursuing his passion for the literary arts. As a young boy, Hughes was fascinated by plays, poems, and stories. In 1921, after a brief stint working as a personal assistant to his father, Hughes left to attend Columbia University in New York.

When it came to deciding a pen name, Hughes had a few in mind. He dabbled in the names Lucius Johnson and Langston Hughes, eventually settling on the latter in an effort to honor the memory of his namesake, James Langston. After a few more years of studying and working odd jobs, he eventually moved to Washington D.C. and wrote a regular column called “The Big Sea” in The New Republic. In 1926, he released his first book of poetry “The Weary Blues” which was widely appreciated by the literary world.

Though his fame eventually blossomed and was solidified as one of the greatest poets of the 20th century, it wasn’t immediately in the cards for Hughes. In 1936, he had all but four of his works published and edited, even though he was a part of the African American struggle. He was highly sought after in the literary, and even political, world, however with the United States becoming increasingly divided along racial lines, Hughes was questioned by some people as to why he was so widely undervalued compared to his white counterparts.

Nevertheless, Hughes continued to write, producing a plethora of works including plays, novels, and articles. Some of his famous works are “The Ways of White Folks”, “Mule Bone: A Comedy of Negro Life”, “Jim Crow’s Last Stand”, “The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain”, “Montage of a Dream Deferred”, “Let America be America Again” and “Famous American Negroes”. All of these works focus on struggles of black people being oppressed by white people, speaking to the experiences he himself faced as well as the experiences of other African Americans during the civil rights movement.

Langston Hughes’ works are highly acclaimed and studied in classic literature courses across the world. When asked of his success, he stoically and simply replied “I tried to write poems like the songs they sang on Seventh Street”. Hughes passed away on the 22nd of May 1967 in New York City, at the younger age of sixtyfive, leaving a legacy of great works and poems that will last for generations.

His Impact on the Literary World

Langston Hughes is often credited as a leader of the Harlem Renaissance, sometimes even being given co-ordinator credit for it. The Harlem Renaissance was a movement of African Americans that brought together a group of creatives and artists, such as poets, writers, painters, designers, and even politicians, all with the same end-goal: to explore and share their work with the rest of the world. It was also a way to fight back against the racism that was so prevalent in the United States.

The Renaissance movement allowed for African Americans to have a space for their work to be noticed by the rest of the world and to showcase different types of art. Langston Hughes was part of this movement from 1922 to subsequent years, he joined musicians, artists, and dancers in performances under the same umbrella. He wrote stories, plays, and wrote newspaper columns that showcased African American culture in a clear and beautiful way.

Hughes was also an advocate for the civil rights movement, his work often advocating for African American rights, and even challenging oppressive white culture. He used his work to fuel the African American civil rights message, often writing in protest of oppression. From his short stories like “Blessed Assurance”, to his poem “I, Too”, Langston Hughes was known for inspiring the civil rights movement with his work.

Not only was Langston Hughes an advocate for African American rights, but he was also an inspiration for many other African American writers to come. His works included multiple genres, such as plays, short stories and essays, as well as novels and poems. His literature, which often explored Africa and its culture, spoke deeply to readers and gave them a window into African American life, struggles and history.

This window allowed for the world to gain a better understanding and appreciation for African American culture, allowing for people to break through the walls of segregation and prejudice that had been built up around the African American community. By doing this, Langston Hughes inspired countless writers for generations to come.

His Style of Writing

Langston Hughes wrote in various different styles, from funny, rhyming verses to more serious and solemn topics. He was known for his jazz-infused poetry and his ability to articulate the emotions suffered by African Americans around the United States during his lifetime. Many of his works are in the form of free-verse poetry, always succinct and to the point, with each line carrying its own meaning and driving powerful messages of justice and equality.

His writing often showcased a deep appreciation for African Americans, expressing the love that binds his culture together and the strength that they found in each other, even in the face of oppression. His works are often heartfelt, speaking to the struggles of his people during the civil rights movement and even now, in the present day. He was also known for his biting satire of mainstream culture and its hypocrisies, hitting hard on topics such as racism and imperialism.

Langston Hughes is considered one of the Harlem Renaissance’s most important voices, with his work capturing the plight of African Americans and expressing the resilience of a people. Through his work, he was able to give a voice to many voiceless, and inspire thousands of future writers.

His Legacy

Langston Hughes’ legacy is one of courage and strength. He stood up when it was hard, even when he was doing the wrong thing. He fought to change the world and he ultimately succeeded in leaving an inspiring legacy. His work has been studied in classrooms, and his influence is evident in the work of many African American writers who followed him. He was an outspoken advocate for civil rights and social justice, and he is remembered as one of the most influential African American writers of the 20th century.

His work has been translated into every major language, and he has been the subject of numerous books, articles, and plays. His legacy is also preserved in museums, libraries, and literary archives, providing future generations with access to his work for years to come. The Langston Hughes Memorial in New York City is an especially significant tribute to his life and legacy.

Even though it has been over five decades since Hughes left us, his spirit and passion for social justice and civil rights still live on today. He is not only remembered fondly today, but also serves as a constant reminder for young African American writers to keep striving for success, and for all of us to continue to fight for equal civil rights.

Handling Criticism

Hughes often faced unwarranted criticism, due to his success and visibility as an African American poet. During the beginning of his career, some people argued that Hughes was too radical and too focused on racial equality, which they thought would ruin his reputation as a young writer. However, despite the negative criticism, Hughes managed to fend off these doubters and continue on to become one of the most influential and successful African American poets of the twentieth century.

Despite the racism and obstacles Hughes faced throughout his life, he never lost his passion for writing and fighting for social justice. He rose above his critics, refusing to let them hold him back. Hughes’s determination, resilience and unwavering commitment to literature made him a hero to many aspiring African American authors, who then followed in his footsteps in their writing.

Hughes was bold and unapologetic in his poetry, never shying away from discussing the painful issues of racial prejudice and oppression that were taking place in 20th century America. His works are celebrated by those who appreciate true storytelling, as he was one of the few black writers of his day to do this. His willingness to expose these issues made him an icon among writers and activists alike.

Impacting the Future

Langston Hughes’ works are still celebrated and studied today, with a multitude of books, films, and artworks dedicated to honouring his genius. His poetry and plays have been heralded for their unique blend of powerful messages and artful language, allowing for Hughes to be remembered in the pantheon of great authors. He was even nominated for the Nobel Prize for literature in 1963.

Today, Hughes’ works continue to be a source of inspiration, giving African American authors the courage to speak up in their own writings and share their stories. His works remain important not only for their contribution to literature, but also for their role in advocating for social justice and civil rights. He is remembered as a hero who refused to give up or surrender to adversity. Hughes’s legacy will no doubt continue to influence and inspire generations of African American authors and activists for years to come.

His Place in History

Throughout history, Langston Hughes has played a pivotal role in literature and society. He used his voice as a way to address difficult issues head on, without ever budging from his commitment to justice. By taking a stance on the civil rights movement, he opened up a discourse that set a precedent on how to handle racism and oppression. He is remembered for his bravery in taking a stand, as well as his incredible works which span various genres and continue to resonate with people today.

Hughes was also one of the most influential poets of the 20th century. He revolutionized poetry with his jazz-infused works, enabling the complicated but beautiful African American experience to be seen through a poetic lens. Hughes has left his mark on 20th century literature with his thought-provoking works, and it can be argued that today’s literature would not be what it is without his creations.

Overall, Langston Hughes’ life and works continue to leave an everlasting impact on the world. His name will live on as one of the strongest voices of justice and literature, forever remembered and cherished by the generations that he inspired.

Leave a Comment