When Did Langston Hughes Write

Early Poems

Langston Hughes was an iconic poet and playwright best known for his work during the Harlem Renaissance. Although his talents were evident from an early age, many of Hughes’ works were not published until later in his career. Records show that his earliest writings were composed when he was just a teenager. He first wrote a poem called “The Negro Speaks of Rivers” in May 1921, an evocative piece about the power of nature and heritage.

The poem was published in The Crisis Magazine, the magazine of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). By this time Hughes had already graduated from high school and was attending Columbia University.

Throughout the 1920s, Hughes was highly productive and published numerous pieces. He wrote poems and articles reflecting on his own experiences, as well as works that touched on the wider challenges facing African-Americans at the time. Generally, his work was densely packed with powerful imagery and insight.

Harlem Renaissance Contributions

By the time the Harlem Renaissance began in the early 1920s, Langston Hughes had already established himself as a renowned poet. During the decade, Hughes wrote a series of works that contributed significantly to the cultural awakening of African-Americans. His poems, such as “I, Too” and “The Weary Blues”, explored ideas of identity, courage and dignity.

His 1926 novel, “Not Without Laughter”, explored life in rural Kansas and was among the first books by a prominent African-American author to do so. He also wrote a cycle of plays, beginning with his 1928 work “Mulatto”, which examined the often taboo subject of race.

Hughes was also a noted protest poet and wrote powerful works criticising the racism of the time. Notably, he wrote the anti-fascist poem “Goodbye Christ” in 1940, which has become one of his best-known and most-loved works. He also continued to write short short stories, novels and lyric verses throughout the 1940s and 1950s.

Later Works

Langston Hughes’ later works were just as revolutionary and influential as his earlier works. As African-American culture shifted in the 1960s – the start of the Civil Rights Movement – Hughes was able to use his writing to reflect the shifting attitudes and ideals of the time.

In the 1960s, Hughes wrote a novel called “Tambourines to Glory”, which explored African-American spiritual and religious beliefs. He also continued to write protest poems, such as his 1969 work “Lift Every Voice and Sing”, which was published in honour of Martin Luther King Jr.

In his later years, Hughes travelled extensively and wrote on a range of topics, from history to music and politics. His 1974 book “Unforgettable, Unforgotten” was a collection of his finest poems, most of which had been written during the Harlem Renaissance and have since become classics.


Although Langston Hughes died in 1967, his legacy is still alive today. His works remain widely read and frequently studied, and his style and themes can be seen in modern-day literature and culture. He is often credited as the father of the Harlem Renaissance and his works have had a profound impact on African-American culture and literature.

To this day, Hughes’ work continues to inspire new generations of African-Americans and influence how people think about their identities, their experiences and the world around them. His powerful words continue to represent hope and justice, and remind people that they are capable of achieving greatness.

Final Years and Death

Langston Hughes suffered poor health in the 1960s and was diagnosed with cirrhosis in 1966. He was unable to complete any new works in his final year, however, due to the severity of his illness. He passed away on May 22, 1967, in New York City.

Following his death, Hughes was remembered by many as a talented poet, playwright and activist. His works were posthumously recognised by the Pulitzer Prize committee in 1976, and he was inducted into the National Institute of Arts and Letters. To this day, he is considered one of the most important figures in African-American literature.

Political Activism

During his lifetime, Langston Hughes was a passionate and vocal political activist. He often wrote about the need for people to join together to fight for social justice. He was a supporter of the Civil Rights Movement and a member of the American Communist Party. He marched in protests and wrote frequently about issues of equality and racism.

In his essay “My Journey”, Hughes wrote about his political views and the need for people to stand together in the face of injustice. He also wrote about the struggles and strength of African-American people and was an advocate for equal rights. Hughes often used his writing as a platform to promote change and raise awareness of the struggles of marginalized groups.


Langston Hughes had a complicated personal life, as evidenced by his writings. He openly discussed his struggles with romantic relationships in his works. In his 1924 novel, “Not Without Laughter”, he wrote at length about his own experiences with love and how he wanted to be treated. He also wrote about his feelings of rejection, which may have been the result of his homosexuality.

He was known to have had romantic relationships with both men and women throughout his life, particularly during his time in Harlem. He never married, but it is possible that he had long-term relationships with both men and women. Despite his complicated love life, he chose to focus his writing on love and freedom.

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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