STORIES
Poets

James Langston Hughes

by Mia from U.S.A


What do you think a hero is? A hero doesn’t have to be famous or be a star. Heroes can be ordinary people who inspire others or help you when you are in danger. My hero is James Langston Hughes. He is a hero to me because he is one who inspired blacks to be wonderful poets. Langston was born in Joplin, Missouri on February 1, 1902, spent his high school years in Cleveland, Ohio, and received a scholarship from Lincoln University Pennsylvania and Columbia University. Langston then spent his last years in Harlem, New York, but unfortunately died on May 22, 1967 from cancer.


When Langston Hughes was in eighth grade, he was elected class poet for his outstanding work. His father though did not encourage him because he thought he wouldn’t make a living being a poet. His father told him to get a more practical job like an engineer. After he went to Central High School in Cleveland, Ohio, his father kept pestering him to go to Columbia University for engineering.

By the time he made a decision, his father paid the tuition. After a short time, Hughes dropped out of Columbia University with an average grade of a B+. He continued working on more poetry. His poetry was featured in the NAACP publication, Crisis Magazine and Opportunity Magazine. Hughes had his finest work, “Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain,” appear in Nation in 1926. Three years before his essay was featured, he traveled all over the world. He went to Africa, Italy, France, Russia, and Spain on a freighter train. The next year later, 1924, Langston went to Harlem, New York and got one of his magnificent pieces of work published.


James Langston Hughes loved to spend time in Blues and Jazz clubs in Washington D.C. He then got a job with Dr. Carter G. Woodson (an editor). In 1926 Hughes moved back to Harlem, and received a scholarship to Lincoln University, Pennsylvania. There he got his B.A. Degree in 1929.

He was awarded honorary Lit.D by Alma Mater and was awarded a fellowship from Guggenheim. In the late 1940's, he created a character known as My Simple Minded Friend. He is in many of Langston's essays and in 1950 Langston thought he deserved a better name. He called him Jess B. Simple. By the time he was forty years old, he devoted his life to writing and lecturing.

James Langston Hughes wrote sixteen books of poetry, two novels, and three short stories. He also wrote four volumes of editorial and documentary fiction, twenty plays, and many children's poetry. He then wrote musicals and operas, three autobiographies, twelve magazine articles, and seven edition anthologies. Finally, Hughes wrote twelve radio and T.V. scripts. He once stated, "I tried to write poems like songs they sang on Seventh Street-(these songs) had the pulse beat of people who kept on going." I truly think he achieved his goals because that's what he tried to do and he did it.

Langston Hughes is important to me because he inspired blacks to be wonderful poets (like himself) and to never give up. His writing inspired them to follow their dreams. He makes a difference in my life because he teaches me how to follow my dreams. I took what he said in his poetry and transferred it into my life by going to my first cheerleading competition and we did so well for our first time we got second place.

Read another hero story about Hughes!
Langston Hughes by Jeff Trussell

Page created on 8/16/2014 10:43:08 AM

Last edited 8/16/2014 10:43:08 AM

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