Langston Hughes was an American poet and activist from the early 20th century. Born under the Oklahoma sun in 1902, Hughes is considered one of the most influential figures in African-American literature. Growing up, Hughes was surrounded by diverse races, experiences, and cultures that helped shape his life, his works, and his beliefs. Where was Langston Hughes raised? This article will discuss the various regions that influenced him throughout his childhood and into adulthood.
The largest influence on Hughes’ life is likely Kansas City, Missouri. He was raised there up until he attended university. Not only was he surrounded by the energy of the city, but it was also a major metropolis with an African-American population of over 1000 people. Hughes experienced the African-American community, the culture of the Midwest, and the melting pot of races and religions firsthand. He was exposed to the struggles of racism and segregation and he learned how to use language to speak out against it. It was in Kansas City that Hughes was discovered for his writing talents and he began publishing works in literary magazines.
Before Kansas City, Hughes spent the majority of his childhood in Lawrence, Kansas. He attended elementary school there, where he excelled in English. Hughes created a teachers’ newspaper in his first-grade classroom, which earned him a certificate for “Best News Writer”. He was surrounded by a supportive, close-knit community of family and friends in Lawrence that encouraged him to pursue his love of expression through writing.
Hughes also spent a great deal of time in the city of Topeka, Kansas. It was while attending his mother’s alma mater, high school in Topeka, that Hughes met Vachel Lindsay and was inspired to become a poet. His first poetry manuscript was published in Topeka, and he often traveled there to visit his family.
As Hughes further developed his literary career, he traveled often. He went to Walt Whitman’s home in Camden, New Jersey, he became a resident of Harlem in the 1920s and 1930s, and he spent time in Europe, where he visited the American expatriates living in Paris. Throughout his travels, Hughes was exposed to a variety of languages and cultures that further broadened his writing perspective.
Hughes continued traveling throughout his lifetime, and it was through his extensive travels that he wrote some of his most powerful works. He traveled to Japan, Africa, and Russia throughout his career, and he was also known for taking road trips across the United States. His writing style was heavily impacted by his experiences and the people he encountered throughout his journey.
Influence on contemporary writers
Langston Hughes’ writing has had a profound influence on subsequent generations of African-American writers. His work as a poet, playwright, novelist, and short-story writer—as well as his involvement in the Harlem Renaissance—revolutionized African-American literature and created a new understanding of African-American identity. Hughes is credited with initiating a shift in African-American culture by challenging the accepted definitions of race, gender, and class.
In addition, Hughes’ influence spread beyond the African-American community. He broke down obstacles between African-American literature and the language of white America, making his work accessible to a diverse audience and helping to bridge the cultural divide. His impact is still felt today, as evidenced by the many contemporary authors who cite Hughes as an influence and source of inspiration.
Agitation against racilism
Langston Hughes was an adamant believer of racial justice and equality. He was motivated by the negative experiences he had with racism in both the South and in the North, and his works often address issues of racism and oppression. Hughes was a vigorous advocate for civil rights and he was actively involved in organizations such as the NAACP, the National Urban League, and Freedomways. He also wrote a regular column for the Chicago Defender newspaper in which he addressed racial equality issues.
Additionally, Hughes used his platform to spread a positive message about African-American culture. He often told stories of the resilience of African-Americans in the face of discrimination, as well as their creative accomplishments in music, poetry, and literature. Hughes toured the country hosting lectures and readings, and he published several anthologies of African-American poetry. By continually highlighting the accomplishments of African-Americans and campaigning for racial justice, Hughes was able to establish himself as a powerful voice of African-American culture.
Due to his dedication to the African-American literary cause, Langston Hughes has received widespread recognition for his work. Hughes was awarded the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award for literature, the Spingarn Medal from the NAACP, the Shelley Memorial Award, and the Witter Bynner Poetry Prize, among numerous other honors. He was also appointed consultant in poetry to the Library of Congress, a post that was later renamed Poet Laureate in 1985.
In addition to receiving these awards and honors, Hughes’ influence is memorialized in various ways. His poem “Dream Deferred” was inscribed on the frieze of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. In addition, several university buildings and libraries have been named in his honor. Further, there are many streets, public parks, and public art works which have been named after Hughes.
Hughes was a true humanist; his works address not just the experiences of African-Americans, but also those about universal concerns of humanity. He wrote about love, loss, death, and oppression, as well as the joys and struggles of everyday life. His writing style was heavily influenced by African-American music and culture. He utilized jazz rhythms, blues influences, and vivid imagery to bring his stories to life.
Above all, Langston Hughes was passionate about creating a better society and using his words to shine a light on inequality and injustice. To this day, he remains one of the most influential voices in African-American literature and, without a doubt, one of the greatest poets of the 20th century.
In addition to his literary works, Langston Hughes was an active philanthropist and supporter of African-American culture. He was a major donor and fundraiser for the NAACP and other civil rights organizations, and he often wrote about the plight of African-Americans in the United States. Hughes was also involved in the Associated Negro Press and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), two organizations that helped to promote African-American culture and spread awareness of racial injustice.
In addition to his political efforts, Hughes was also passionate about supporting African-American arts and literature. He donated money to African-American theater and literary projects and regularly granted scholarships to aspiring authors. He was the founding editor of Opportunity: A Journal of Negro Life and was an avid advocate for black theater. Hughes was a driving force behind the Harlem Renaissance, one of the most significant movements in African-American literary history.
Langston Hughes was an artist and a visionary. His works are a testament to the power of literature, and they continue to inspire generations of readers and writers. Hughes has been celebrated as a cultural hero, and his works have been embraced by both the African-American and mainstream communities. His influence is seen throughout literature, both in his work and in the works of subsequent writers.
In addition to his influence on literature, Hughes was also a major influence on popular culture. His poetry has been adapted for music, theatre, and film. He has been called the “spiritual father” of many hip-hop artists, and his works have been sampled and referenced by artists such as Kanye West and Lauryn Hill. Through his words, Hughes stimulated readers to think critically about race, class, and justice, and to use language to make a positive difference in the world.
In the later years of his life, Langston Hughes experienced a significant decline in health, which contributed to difficulty in completing his works. He continued to travel and write, but he eventually retired from his literary pursuits in the 1950s. Hughes died of complications from prostate cancer in New York City in 1967.
Langston Hughes left behind a powerful legacy as one of the most influential voices of the Harlem Renaissance. His works continue to inspire and educate generations of readers. His life was one of courage and dedication, and it is his dedication to his craft, his belief in racial equality, and his humanist approach to life that make his legacy everlasting.