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Langston Hughes

            Langston Hughes was one of the major black American literary figures of the twentieth century. He held a demanding position as a leading figure in the Harlem Renaissance, which flourished in New York in the 1920s and 1930s. Hughes had many accomplishments throughout his forty-five year career, Hughes was a novelist, a reporter, a translator, a playwright, and a short-story writer, mostly recognized as a poet though. His career took off due to his unique style, the speech of a stereotyped black man with a jazz/blues rhythm. Hughes political views and feelings were always shown in his work.
             Langston Hughes was born in Joplin, Missouri on February 2, 1902. He grew up in Lawrence, Kansas with family friends and relatives after his parents' separation. Money was always inadequate and Hughes spent most of his time alone. His grandmother told stories that were full of respect and pride for the Negro race. Hughes said in his autobiography that it was through this experience that he learned the uselessness of crying. Hughes learned lessons of endurance and pride from his grandmother. Hughes believed that a better world would come someday and this was shown in the last lines of "I, Too."".
             I'll be at the table.
             When company comes.
             Nobody'll dare.
             Say to me,.
             "Eat in the kitchen,"".
             They'll see.
             How beautiful I am.
             And be ashamed " .
             I, too am America.
             In 1916, Hughes moved to Cleveland to live with his mom and stepfather. Hughes wrote in the styles of Paul Laurence Dunbar and Carl Sandburg and submitted them to the school magazine, the Belfry Owl. It was at this time that Hughes was strongly influenced by Guy de Maupassant. Maupassant inspired him to want to write stories about the Negro so true that they would be understood by people all over the world (Unger 320). Hughes's teachers played an important role and he was lucky to have them, for they taught him the only way to get something done is to keep on doing it until you get it right.

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