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Langston Hughes.

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Chapter IV Langston Hughes was one of the prominent poets who paved the way for the acceptance of African culture and African heritage. His poetry dealt with hot unique issues of protest against racial inequality and discrimination of all the blacks in 20th century America. Hughes was considered as a social reformer who used his poetry as a vehicle to express the thoughts of young black Americans who had spent their lives climbing "the crystal stairs". Hughes became the articulate voice of the whole nation who had such great faith in his abilities and poetry that attempted to break down the barriers that separated blacks and whites. Hughes wrote a newspaper column under the name of Simple B who was anything but simple. Simple, the fictional character, allowed Hughes to discuss very serious racial problems of the poor black residents of Harlem who were striving hard to make a place for themselves in the racist America. As such, Hughes, like Dunbar, had worn the mask in order to deflate the tension imposed on him by the white public. Simple, or Semple, ordinary black man who represents everybody of black society, who "tells me his tales...with a pain in his soul...sometimes as the old blues say...Simple might be laughing to keep from crying". ...read more.


In his poem "I, too, sing America", the darker brother is waiting for his opportunity to share the table of freedom with all Americans. He laughs, eats well and grows strong. For indeed, the black man's roots are deep in America, even deeper then those of most Americans, there fore Hughes celebrates America as well, but not an America that is but an America that is to come. Hughes' democratic vistas are still on the distant horizon yet to arrive. Hughes was considered a conscientious artist who kept his middle-of-the-stance and worked hard to chronicle the black American experience contrasting the beauty of the soul with the oppressive circumstance. In addition to poetry and fiction, Hughes wrote many essays that portrayed the black experience in America and their quest for racial justice. His essay "The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain" which decried the willingness of black artists to accept white standardization while decrying their heritage condemns the young black man who "want[s] to be a poet-not a negro poet meaning "I want to write like a white poet...meaning subconsciously...I would like to be white" And I was sorry the young man said that, for no great poet has ever been afraid of being himself." ...read more.


In the poem, Hughes traces and celebrates black America, black strength and heritage which is As ancient as the world and older than the Flow of human blood in human veins .......... I've known rivers: Ancient, dusky rivers My soul has grown deep like the rivers The poem goes back to the Euphrates i.e. to "a pre-racial dawn and geography far from Africa that is identified with neither blackness nor whiteness-a time considered the cradle of all the world's civilizations and possibly the location of the Garden of Eden"(Hutchinson). The poem traces the movement of black life from the Euphrates and Niles in Africa to the Mississippi River that symbolizes the human blood of all races. The magical transformation of the Mississippi from mud to gold by the sun's radiance is mirrored in the transformation of slaves into free men by [Abe Lincoln's] Proclamation."(Jemie): I looked upon the Nile and raised the pyramids above it I heard the singing of the Mississippi when Abe Lincoln Went down to New Orleans, and I've seen its muddy Bosom turn all golden in the sunset The cosmic speaker portrays selfhood and recognizes his roots, his identity as a child of not only one set of biological parents but as a child of the cosmos(or of God), and he is linked with all humanity, all races, and all creeds for all time through the depth of his own soul. ...read more.

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