In the middle of the 1930's and close to the end of World War I, an artistic explosion of talent and social growth had begun. This period of time was called" The Harlem Renaissance". Harlem became the cornerstone for attracting colored artists, musicians, writers, photographers, poets, and specialists. Most of them came from the south trying to escape the unfair treatment and to show others how talented they were. During this period of time, Harlem was the hub to which colored artists, poets, musicians, and photographers traveled to showcase their skills without consequences or repercussions. The Harlem Renaissance helped artists Langston Hughes, and Claude McKay achieve recognition for their talents during this significant period of cultural growth.
Langston Hughes was an American poet, author and writer who was the leading force and primary contributor to the start of the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920's. His poetry depicted the beauty and pride in everyday life of black people. The poem, "The Negro Speaks of Rivers", appeared in the magazine called "The Crisis" edited by W.E.B. Dubose. This magazine published different poem, stories, and art from many black artists during this period of time. Langston Hughes did not want to omit his experiences of a black man in America. Sharing the stories of black people revealing the actual culture of black people, including pain, love for music, and happiness.
Within "The Negro Speaks of Rivers", Langston can be interpreted as conveying a joint identity. He displays conflict to being African American and his racial identity in the twentieth century. His black sole was buried deep in his very poetic imagination while his racial identity remains exclusive storyteller. Which leads up to one of the main themes highlighted in the poem. Throughout "The Negro Speaks of Rivers", roots are noticeable and it gives us the meaning of the poem.