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Profile of the Day: Langston Hughes

Profile of the Day: Langston Hughes

Langston Hughes

On this day in 1902, poet and author Langston Hughes was born. A leader of the Harlem Renaissance, Hughes was known as one of the earliest innovators of jazz poetry. His writings reflected the life and experiences of African Americans and addressed racial issues in society.

Hughes was born in Joplin, Missouri on February 1, 1902. His parents separated shortly after his birth and he was primarily raised by his maternal grandmother until her death in 1915. Hughes credited her with instilling in him a strong sense racial pride.

He found early success in his career when he published one of his most well known poems, “The Negro Speaks of Rivers.” The poem was published just after Hughes graduated from high school. Soon Hughes became closely involved in the growing cultural movement in Harlem. In his writings, Hughes detailed the lives and struggles of working class African Americans. His work celebrated black culture and was imbued with racial pride. Today, Hughes is remembered as an integral voice and leader of the Harlem Renaissance.

Hughes died on May 22, 1967 of complications from prostate cancer.

Explore Langston Hughes’s family tree and share how you’re related to the poet.

View Langston Hughes’s Geni Profile


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Image: Library of Congress


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