Langston Hughes

The famous poet called Langston Hughes was born in Joplin, Missouri on 1st February 1902. He was educated at the University of Columbia. However, despite being in a prestigious university, he decided to call it quits after 1 year to focus on travel. He wrote very interesting poetry which was promoted by Vachel Lindsay. In 1926, he wrote and published his first book. His passion for poetry made him write countless pieces. He also diversified into play writing. For this reason, he was given a column by the Chicago Defender were he published his pieces. He later on died in 1967. He had graduated from high school in 1920 and travelled to Mexico with his father.

It was during this time that his most famous poem, The Negro Speaks of Rivers was published in The Crisis Magazine. The response of the people was just amazing. He then returned to America in 1921 and joined Columbia University. During this time, he joined the Harlem’s burgeoning cultural movement which later led to the most famous Harlem Renaissance. He dropped out of Columbia in 1922 and did manual and odd jobs in New York City. After this, he signed up as a steward on a ship that took him to Spain and Africa. He did not stay in the ship for a long time. He decided to leave the ship in 1924 and lived in Paris for a short period of time. In Paris, he continued to develop his poetry art.

He came back to the United States in 1924 where he did various manual jobs in New York. Things changed in 1925 when he met an American Poet called Vachel Lindsay while he was working as a busboy in Washington D.C. The two joined up and went ahead to develop some of the best poems in America to date. Hughes showed Lindsay some of his poetry works. He was impressed and the two decided to make a team.

Less than a year later, Hughes’s poem won the most prestigious award then. It won the Opportunity magazine literally magazine. The poem was called ‘The Weary Blues’. This was the biggest break for Hughes who was awarded a scholarship at Lincoln University in Pennsylvania. At this university, his work caught the eyes of Carl Van Vechten who was then a novelist and critic. The two later bonded and Carl helped Hughes to write his first book of poetry. The book, which was called The Weary Blues, was published by Knopf in 1926. It was received amazingly well by people. It also brought Hughes to the public limelight. It made him become very popular because of its black theme. In 1927, he published his second volume of poetry called Fine Clothes to the Jew. This also became very popular.


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