The author I chose to present to you is James Mercer Langston Hughes; better know as Langston Hughes (American poet, short story writer, novelist, playwright, autobiographer, and nonfiction writer). He was born February 1, 1902 in Joplin, Missouri. His father, James Nathaniel Hughes went to school to become a lawyer and when the state of Oklahoma would not let him take the bar exam he tried the state of Missouri. Still unable to take the bar exam he left his wife and new son and moved to Cuba and then to Mexico. His mother, Carrie Mercer Langston Hughes left him in the care of his maternal grandmother, while she frequently moved around in such of a steady income. His grandmother was the first black women to attend Oberlin College, in Ohio, and bestowed the values of reading books and education. When his grandmother died in 1910, he moved in with family friends and other various relatives in Kansas. In 1915 he moved back with his mother and new stepfather in Lincoln, Illinois, where he attended school. The following year they moved to Cleveland, Ohio. There he attended school at Central High. He not only excelled in academics but also in sports. While in school he wrote poetry and short stories for the high school literary magazine. He also edited the school yearbook. He graduated from Central High School in 1921. .
After he graduated he decided to move to Mexico where his father had become a prosperous lawyer and landowner. While in Mexico, Hughes taught English for about a year, before deciding to return to the United States to attend Columbia University in New York City. He dropped out of Columbia after his freshman year to support his mother.
While working many tedious low-paying jobs he managed to publish several poems to The Crisis (a magazine of the national association for the advancement of Colored People), one being "The Negro speaks of a River". He also worked on a merchant ship that visited Africa.