One of the most versatile and outstanding writers, Langston Hughes, spoke the truth about the society he lived in. Through his writings, he spoke of the feelings of blacks during slavery, during the Harlem Renaissance, and during the days of Jim Crow. In his poem, "The Negro Speaks of Rivers", Hughes makes his feelings towards the treatment of blacks and the treatment of society known. Hughes's strong sense of racial pride shined throughout the poem. On the same token, "Hughes captures the African American's journey to America in what is perhaps his signature poem, "The Negro Speaks of Rivers" (Joyce). .
Langston Hughes, born James Langston Hughes, was born in Joplin, Missouri. At the age of 17, while on a train ride to Mexico, Hughes wrote the infamous poem, "The Negro Speaks of Rivers". In Mexico, Langston visited is multi-racial father who didn't think he would be able to make a living at writing. Therefore, to prove his father wrong, Langston traveled around the world and wrote several novels, poems, plays, essays, and children's books. .
Nevertheless, while on the train, Hughes saw the ever flowing Mississippi River. "The muddy Mississippi made Hughes think of the roles in human history played by the Congo, the Niger, and the Nile, down whose water the early slaves were once sold," (Harris). "The sense of beauty and death, of hope and despair, fused in his imagination. A phrase came to him, then a sentence. Drawing an envelope from his pocket, he began to scribble. In a few minutes, Langston had finished a poem," (Rampersad). As he wrote, he thought about the blacks who had been kidnapped from Africa and brought over to America to serve as slaves. In the poem, the "rivers" that Hughes talks about represent the hope for the future that they carry along with them.
"I heard the singing of the Mississippi when Abe Lincoln went down / to New Orleans, and I've seen its muddy bosom turn all / golden in the sunset".