Langston Hughes 

Throughout African American history there have been many influential poets. They have been acknowledged for many awards and have all been published a countless number of times. These poets are studied all over the world, so their legacy will never be forgotten. Langston Hughes was one of the most inspiring writers of his time. According to American Poets, “Possibly the most influential black American writer of the twentieth century, Langston Hughes set an example of self-determination and artistic integrity.” Langston Hughes, in addition to being a talented American poet, also traveled extensively and was a significant contributor to the Harlem Renaissance movement. Langston Hughes, is a prominent American poet, has many achievements that were rarely possible during that time for a person of color. After high school, he spent a year in Mexico. “Then went  to Columbia University in New York. While in New York, he had odd jobs such as assistant cook, launderer, and busboy to earn enough money to return to college. In 1924, he returned back to the United States as poor which resulted him to write, “The Weary Blues”- (poetry foundation). “Hughes worked as a busboy in Paris and continued to write poetry. He returned to the United States at the end of 1924, still poor as when he had left. His financial problems started to fade away when one of his poems, The Weary Blues, was published in the magazine Opportunity. This earned him first prize in the magazine’s poetry contest” (African American Eras: Segregation to Civil Rights Times ) and received a scholarship to attend Lincoln University in Pennsylvania. While he was studying at Lincoln, his great poetry came to the attention of the novelist Carl Van Vechten. With his connections, Hughes was able to publish his first book of poetry, The Weary Blues, published by Knopf in 1926. In July of 1936, he published one of this most celebrated and famous poems, “Let America be America Again.” This poem focused on the unrealized hopes and dreams of lower class citizens and the disadvantaged. This poem gave hope that maybe one day the American Dream would arrive. One of the most critical days in Hughes life happened when he was finally able to buy his first house in Harlem. He earned this money in the late 1940s; he contributed the lyrics for a Broadway musical called Street Scene. During this time, he taught creative writing at Atlanta University and was a college guest lecture at a university in Chicago. His poetry was based on his own experiences to help him make the writing more vivid since there were his own experiences.           Langston Hughes also had a massive impact on how African American culture was portrayed in the Harlem Renaissance. He was well known and loved, and worked to free American literature from the plantation tradition. In his writings, he tried to inspire people with self-assurance, racial pride and earning acclaim for his innovations in literary blues and jazz. He even played a role in the Soviet Union. He traveled with a group of African-American artists to the Soviet Union to make a film about the black experience in the United States. The film was never completed, but his ideas about communism remain constant, as many black leaders saw communism an alternative to the racial prejudice in the United States of America. Possibly the most dominant Black American writers of his period, Langston Hughes set an example of bravery and purity. Beginning in the Harlem Renaissance during the early 1920s, his career extended to the Black Arts Movement of the late 1960s. “In his early twenties Hughes mingled with such different writers and artists as Countee Cullen, Zora Neale Hurston, Aaron Douglas, and Josephine Baker; during his forties, he helped to inspire the young writers Margaret Walker and Gwendolyn Brooks. Finally, he encouraged writers of a third generation, including Ted Joans, Alice Walker, and Mari Evans.”-    Says the American Poets, 1880-1945: Second Series. Ed. Peter Quartermain. Dictionary of Literary Biography Vol. 48. Detroit: Gale, 1986. His legacy continued even after he died. His Harlem home received New York City Landmark status in 1981 and was added to the National Register of Places in 1982. In 1943, Hughes old school, Lincoln University, awarded him an honorary doctorate of letters. His volumes and copies of his work continued to be published and translated throughout the world. Langston Hughes, in addition to being an outstanding American poet, also traveled extensively and was a significant contributor to the Harlem Renaissance movement. He traveled the world to make money to afford going back to college. Without Hughes, the Harlem Renaissance would be completely different because he was seen as a hero, and people looked to him.