What Was Langston Hughes Obstacles

Early Life Struggles

Langston Hughes was a celebrated American poet, novelist and playwright born in 1902. He is best known for his works that depicted the life and struggles of common people. Before Hughes and during his youth, the country was mired in racial tension, civil rights struggles and a segregation. Growing up in a black family, Hughes encountered profound prejudice and racism in his daily life and felt the injustice inflicted upon his race. He also had to struggle with the gap between his parents’ attitude to the races, with his father an advocate for accommodation and his mother abnegating social contact with white people.
Hughes wrote about the psychological damage caused by racial injustice and how his job pursuits were either turned down or resulted in the occasional derogatory remarks about his race. Forced to move multiple times due to bigotry, Hughes suffered poverty and negativity. He was also exposed to violence violence against black people. To combat this, Hughes sought solace in writing and expressed his outrage in his works through stellar pieces and everyday experiences.

Living in Poverty

The lack of financial resources gravely affected Hughes and his family. Because he had to move from place to place and lacked a stable environment, Hughes had to endure dysfunctional and even traumatic living conditions prior to completing high school. From these erratic living conditions, Hughes turned to writing poetry as a form of solace and catharsis.
Unfortunately, Hughes’s dreams of higher education was hindered due to his family’s financial struggles. His only option was to enroll in a the Lincoln Institute, an African American boarding school in Missouri with a highly mediocre education system. An inadequate education paired with economic hardships led Hughes to fluctuate between multiple, low pay jobs such as cabin boy, tutor, messenger and bus boy. Consequently, Hughes was never able to settle in one place, denying him the stability of proper education and jobs.

Criticism and Prejudice

Despite Hughes’s impressive accomplishments and fame in his adulthood, he faced huge obstacles while growing up. Along with financial struggles, he faced colour prejudice and disillusionment in racial laws and customs. His works reflect his struggles as he described in vivid detail the daily struggle of African Americans searching for freedom and their struggle of feeling like strangers in their own land.
During his childhood, Hughes faced huge criticism for straying from the traditional medium for his writing. He wrote about slang and dialect, which was heavily disapproved of. Hughes brushed off most of the criticism and pushed forward with his writings. He took on hard topics such as lynching, unemployment, racism and injustice with a rather didactic attitude, which was not approved of by the accepted mainstream.

Final Years

The hurdles and challenges Hughes faced in his final years led him to a period of depression. He wrote about various sorrows and depression, which he couldn’t escape. Despite living in adversity and hardship, Hughes’s works reached fame and profound success. Some of his works include “The Weary Blues” and “Merry-Go-Round”, written in the 1920s, “The Ways of White Folks” written in 1932, and the iconic “I, Too Sing America” written in 1926. His work set the tone for later generations of writers and artists.
Hughes was admired by many artist and writers, he even received national recognition. He received awards such as the NAACP’s Spingarn Medal and the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award for his outstanding literary works. His success made him an iconic figure for both the Harlem Renaissance and Black American culture as a whole.

Reaching Towards Modern Times

Hughes faced a lot of criticism and humiliation throughout his career, being one of the foremost poets of the 20th century. He championed the works of black artists and writers, inspiring African Americans to express themselves with pride and gain confidence in their talents.
Hughes helped lay the foundations for modern black literature, and his production of short stories, poems and plays nourished the beginnings of African American literature as it reached its peak in the late 1960s. In modern times, Hughes’s remains one of the most influential and inspiring black figures in literature. His work not only showcases African American culture but also helped pave the way for multiple civil rights reforms in the United States.


Langston Hughes’s life and literature have had a lasting impact on American society. His struggle and defiance of racial injustice has given hope and courage to many who struggle to overcome racism and oppression. His work has provided inspiration to a number of African American artists, writers, and other members of the African diaspora. His profound explorations of common people’s lives, sorrow and little things endured from prejudice are powerful to this day.
His contribution to literature had and continues to have a massive influence, especially literature concerning African American heritage. Langston Hughes is a legendary figure for his influence in literature and his usage of media to create awareness about civil rights issues. His legacy continues to this day and his works remain timeless.

Resilience in Literature

Langston Hughes’s works showcased the resilience of African Americans, especially in the face of adversity. He wrote on the discrimination they faced, their struggles and yet their triumphs. Despite being subjected to wrongful racial stereotypes and widespread criticism, Langston Hughes was able to achieve unprecedented fame and success during his lifetime and have a long-lasting impact on poetry and literature.
Through writing, he questioned racial injustice and sought to make a difference to ensure that, one day, African Americans would be treated equally. He wrote about the vitality and pride of black Americans, in order to elevate and preserve their culture and heritage. He highlighted their strengths rather than focusing on subjugation, oppression and economic struggles.
Langston Hughes was a trailblazer, who through his works impacted generations of African Americans and revealed the extraordinary richness of African American culture, heritage, and values. He is truly an inspiration, who despite racial prejudice and the financial instability of his family and African Americans, achieved immense success and lasting fame.

The Influence of His Works on Black American Literature

Langston Hughes’s works are integral not only in the history of American literature but also in the establishment of African American literature and black identities. His works depict racial injustice and marginalized identities in an honest, beautiful and sometimes heartbreaking way. From his works, his readers can learn about the African American experience and their strength, and their struggle for civil rights and economic justice.
The civil rights messages resonated in his poetry and eventually resulted in great leaps forward for African Americans. His impact was critical for later generations of black authors, who build on the foundation that Hughes had established. Through Hughes’s work, younger generations of African Americans found representation and understanding of their own hardships.

Impact in Modern Times

In modern times, Langston Hughes’s works remain significant if not more so today. His iconic works, like “I, Too Sing America” have often been used during the Civil Rights Movement, the Women’s Rights Movement, and other causes aimed at fighting injustice. His words have been quoted during protests and marches, as they offer inspiration and representation to the African American community.
His work has created a platform for African American liberation, essentially helping black people imagine solutions to systemic issues that have distorted the progress of their communities. His existence and his work created a spark during the dark times of oppression, that has today evolved into a flame of hope and justice.

Dannah Hannah is an established poet and author who loves to write about the beauty and power of poetry. She has published several collections of her own works, as well as articles and reviews on poets she admires. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English, with a specialization in poetics, from the University of Toronto. Hannah was also a panelist for the 2017 Futurepoem book Poetry + Social Justice, which aimed to bring attention to activism through poetry. She lives in Toronto, Canada, where she continues to write and explore the depths of poetry and its influence on our lives.

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