Langston Hughes was born on February 1, 1902 in Joplin, Missouri. His father was James Nathaniel and his mother was Carrie Mercer Langston Hughes. His grandfather was Charles Langston, an Ohio abolitionist. As a young boy he lived in Buffalo, New York, Cleveland, Ohio, Lawrence, Kansas, Mexico City, Topeka, Kansas, Colorado Springs, Colorado, and Kansas City, Kansas. In 1914 his parents divorced and he, his mother, and his stepfather moved to Lincoln, Illinois. In high school back in Cleveland, he was elected class poet, and editor of the senior class yearbook. He taught English to some families in Mexico in 1921 and also published his first prose piece, "Mexican Games"(Davis). In an excerpt from an article about Langston Hughes in Encarta 97, it says that he was discovered in 1925, while he was working as a busboy in a restaurant in Washington, D.C., when he accidentally left three of his poems next to the plate of Vachel Lindsay, an American poet. She helped him get publicity for his works and she got him seriously started in writing(Encarta). Hughes was an author, anthologist, librettist, songwriter, columnist, translator, founder of theaters, and a poetical innovator in jazz technology. Hughes liked to write in many genres such as prose, comedy, drama, fiction, biographies, autobiographies, and TV and radio scripts. .
Hughes was an important figure in the Harlem Renaissance because he was one of the most talented and famous black writers in his time. The Harlem Renaissance was the black movement during the 1920's. Many African-Americans got famous during this time and more people in the United States and the world got to see another side of African- Americans which had never been seen before. People saw that blacks could do things the same or better than white people and many, but certainly not all, barriers like segregation were decreased noticeably. He wrote numerous protest poems in which he used irony to get his points across to the reader.