When Did Langston Hughes Write Let America Be America Again

Let America be America Again is perhaps one of the most famous poems written by Langston Hughes and was first published in 1936. It is a poem that speaks to the issues of equality and justice in the United States, focusing on the struggles of black Americans. Through his powerful words, Hughes expresses his deep longing for a nation in which everyone is treated equally and fairly, regardless of what they look like or where they come from.

Written during the Great Depression, the poem is framed in a way that both humanity and patriotism are intertwined, demanding admiration for the idea of a free society, where people are allowed to “Let it be the dream it used to be.” All the while, Hughes acknowledges the stark disparity that held back African Americans from achieving such a dream in the country.

Further amplifying the idea of a better world, Hughes repeatedly calls for the end of discrimination and segregation in America, questioning why we must “be killed for what we know” and why “the race (must) travel in distress.” Through his words, he demands a society where freedom and justice exists so that “everyone can stand on equal ground.” Moreover, he declares his zest and eagerness to contribute to the cause of civil rights in the United States, noting that “awake America,” evoking the power of strength and courage amidst the challenging times.

The poem quickly gained widespread attention and resonated with many across America. Hughes’ progressive and idealistic ideals of a society that values its citizens equally, despite their race and socio-economic background, struck a chord with many who felt that the discrimination and social stratification in the country were unjust.

The poem’s legacy lives on even to this day. Let America Be America Again has been adopted by many notable figures, from Malcom X to Barack Obama, as well as countless civil rights activists. It has been prominently featured in books, essays, artwork, and other works of literature, highlighting the message at the heart of the poem.

Though it was written in 1936, many of the sentiments conveyed by Hughes in Let America Be America Again remain relevant even today, as the United States continues to grapple with long-standing issues of racial and socioeconomic inequalities. The poem remains a powerful reminder of the need to strive for a nation in which everyone is treated with respect and dignity, no matter their race, gender or background.

Memorable Quotes

The poem features many memorable and quotable lines, each with its own powerful message. Here are some of the most memorable ones:

“Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed—” – This quote speaks to the idea that America should live up to its ideals – the ones that were dreamed up by our Founding Fathers

“Let it be that great strong land of love” – This line speaks to the idea of a nation built upon love, tolerance, and acceptance.

“Where never kings connive nor tyrants scheme” – This line reflects Hughes’ understanding of power dynamics and his commitment to a society in which oppression and injustice is not tolerated.

“Where the feeble weak are protected” – A call for a society in which the vulnerable are taken care of, and their rights and voices are heard.


Let America Be America Again was met with widespread acclaim, receiving praise from established critics and civil rights activists alike. The poem was celebrated for its powerful message of equality and the beauty of its verses. It has been translated into dozens of languages and published in numerous books and collections, ensuring that its legacy lives on.

Continuing The Legacy

Today, there are many organizations and initiatives that were inspired by Hughes’ poem and continue to carry on its legacy. These include the Langston Hughes Project, which brings Hughes’ work to various countries around the world; Let America Be America Again, a national campaign that works to promote understanding, respect and inclusion; and Let America Sing Again, a musical project which seeks to reinvigorate the spirit of the nation.

These organizations are continuing the legacy of Langston Hughes and remind us all of the importance of striving for a society in which everyone is respected and valued, no matter where they come from or what their race is.


Let America Be America Again is a powerful poem that deserves to be remembered and celebrated. Through his powerful words, Langston Hughes speaks of a nation that is built upon tolerance and acceptance, where everyone is treated as an equal and justice prevails. Though it was written more than 80 years ago, the poem’s powerful message still resonates today and is a reminder of the importance of standing up for what is right and for striving for a society that is free from racism and discrimination.

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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