Read Complete Research Material



Langston Hughes contributed a tremendous influence on black culture throughout the United States during the era known as the Harlem Renaissance. He is usually considered to be one of the most prolific and most-recognized black poets of the Harlem Renaissance. He broke through barriers that very few black artists had done before this period. Hughes was presented with a great opportunity with the rise black art during the 1920's and by his creative style of poetry, which used black culture as its basis and still appealed to all ethnicities(Watson 90-109).

Thesis statement

Langston's Harlem is the considered the voice of a race.

Harlem Renaissance

Until the Harlem Renaissance, poetry and literature were dominated by white people and were all about white culture. However, during the 1920's, there was an explosion of black literature and, art poured from black artists and activists who represented black pride and individuality from the white dominance (Andrews 78-81). This movement was sparked in the lower and upper Manhattan sections of New York City. Originally known as the New Negro Movement, it later became known as the Harlem Renaissance due to where it was birthed and seemed to be the area that it burned the most intense. One of the reasons why there was a rise in black culture in the Harlem area is due to the great migration of blacks to Northern cities during the early 1920's. Racial discrimination, segregation, and interracial tension were also contributing factors to the Harlem Renaissance(Knopf 45-49). Blacks were tired of being part of white America and wanted to break free and express not only black pride but, black culture as well. Langston Hughes emerged as one of the front men of the black movement of expression and art through the use of his poetic writing (Schwarz, Christa 112-119).

Unlike earlier African American writers, Harlem Renaissance authors found that their works received greater exposure; during the 1920's and early 1930's, major publishers produced books by African Americans with an unprecedented frequency. Black writers had improved opportunities to accomplish two major goals: to portray African American life accurately and to promote African American culture. Collectively, works of the Harlem Renaissance provide a panorama of early twentieth century black life. Characters vary from ones whose deeds are virtuous to those whose actions are questionable, although in general, Harlem Renaissance literature presents more upright characters. They represent all levels of society, socially and economically. For the first time in American literature(Watson 90-109), there are consistent attempts to portray African Americans in urban locations. The works of Harlem Renaissance writers proudly display the great variety in African American life and assert that regardless of their status, African Americans are worthy of respect.

Hughes had long been interested in and knowledgeable about African American music. Beginning in the 1920's, he wrote poems about—and sometimes in forms influenced by—the music. His first book, The Weary Blues (1926), took its title from such a poem. Bebop, the innovative jazz of the late 1940's, with its emphasis on the successive improvisations of individual instrumental voices, ...
Related Ads