Langston Hughes and the Harlem Renaissance
Period of literary, musical, and artistic production among African Americans; reached peak in 1920’s; centered in Harlem, New York. Ended in 1929- crash of stock market
Why was Harlem a magnet for blacks? For whites?
Blacks fled the poverty and racial violence in south hoping to find economic and personal freedom. Whites went to night clubs for jazz music and some were interested in Harlem’s culture
“New negro” movement
Rejection of “beastlike” image or sentimental “Old negro” image. Blacks believed they had a right to define and defend themselves against attack.
Most important and original of the writes who embodied ideas of the “new negro”; praised blackness, embraced common people as subjects and blended elements of blues and jazz into poetry
Why was Langston Hughes’ election as class poet in 7th grade unusual?
He had never written a poem before
Describe his style of poetry as a high school student
Wrote dialect poems like Dunbar and free verse like Sandburg
What occupied his time from 1921-1824?
He was a student at Colombia university then dropped out; fascinated by Harlem; sailed to African and Europe
Explain the circumstances under which his first poem “the weary blues” was published.
He was a busboy at D.C. Restaurant, placed copy of poems on plate of poet Vachel Lindsay and then reported that he discovered a poet
According to Langston Hughes, why did he write about the ordinary working class negroes?
He had little knowledge about upper-class negroes. Working class may not have been cultured of educated, but they were good people
Why was he called the “Poet Laureate” of Harlem?
Hughes influenced many black writers who came after him; national poet