Langston Hughes

Langston Hughes Hughes James Mercer Langston Hughes or simply Langston Hughes was a poet and social activist who was born in Joplin, Missouri on February 1st, 1902. His mother was a school teacher and his father was a storekeeper. Langston Hughes was the great-great-grandson of Charles Henry Langston who was the brother of John Mercer Langston the first American black to be elected to public office.

Langston Hughes worked and traveled to many African and European countries in which he spread his thinks. Langton Hughes died on 22 May, 1967 due to complications after an abdominal surgery related to prostate cancer. During his life he wrote many interesting works among we can mention "the Negro speak of rivers", "Freedom's Plow", "The Panther and the Lash: Poems of Our Times", "Laughing to Keep from Crying", "Simple Takes a Wife" and "The Best of Simple".

The Negro Speak of River is definitely one of the most important Langton Hughes’ works. This poem was written while he was traveling in a train to Mexico, where he lived by many years, when he was only 18 years old. He was inspired by the beauty of the Mississippi and by the discrimination that his people suffered in those years. The Negro Speak of River was first published by The Crisis Magazine in 1921.

The Negro speak of River celebrate the courage of the community in a time of great racial intolerance, injustice, and inequality in America. Langton Hughes dedicated this work to WEB DuBois who was one of the most renowned educators and civil rights activists.

Langston Hughes - The Negro Speak of River

The Negro Speak of River


I've known rivers
I've known rivers ancient as the world and older than the
flow of human blood in human veins.

My soul has grown deep like the rivers.

I bathed in the Euphrates when dawns were young.
I built my hut near the Congo and it lulled me to sleep.
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.

I've known rivers
Ancient, dusky rivers.

My soul has grown deep like the rivers.

Langston Hughes



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