Childhood • Langston Hughes was born in Joplin, Missouri on February 1,1902. • Both of his parents were bookkeepers, so he grew up being around all different types of literature. • His family also belonged to an Abolitionist group, which fought for the rights of African-Americans during the early part of the 20th century.
Langston was from humble origins, and he developed a real love and admiration for poor African Americans in society whom he called, “low-down folks”.
Harlem Renaissance • Langston worked many jobs before becoming a professional writer. • For most of his life, he lived among ordinary people and experienced first hand their struggles in society. • Langston Hughes’ career was influenced and shaped by the struggles of poor black families as a result of his experiences.
Harlem Renaissance • Hughes’ career really took off during the Harlem Renaissance, which happened in the early 1920s in Harlem, New York. • All of a sudden there was an explosion of African-American art, music, poetry, and writing that was widely respected and appreciated by many people; including many white people who had treated African-Americans poorly in the past.
Harlem Renaissance • During this time, jazz evolved and permeated into almost every aspect of art and daily life in Harlem. • People from far and wide came to visit art exhibits, dance to music, and listen to poetry readings. • A place that was once poor and desolate, was thriving and full of life.
Influences • People began listening to what artists like, Langston Hughes, had to say at this time. • For many artists, the messages were similar. • Black artists used their art to get across their feelings about politics and injustice.
And My… Did the world begin to listen…