Langston Hughes being a Vital Part of the Harlem Renaissance
These feelings of rejection, coupled with racism, caused him to become very insecure and very unsure of himself. Though he lived with his mother in Lincoln, Illinois after his grandmother's death, Hughes moved frequently after his mother's remarriage and while he began writing and publishing in high school, his unsettled family life caused him great pain and hardship.
Also troubling Hughes, particularly as an adult, was the fact that he was a closeted homosexual who used his work to rage against racism, poverty, and homosexuality (Glbt.com, 2). Many of Hughes' closest friends were known homosexuals, but he himself never "came out." During the era in which Hughes lived, homosexuality was considered to be inappropriate. Consequently, he may have chosen to live his life secretly in order to avoid the social stigma of homosexuality.
Despite these burdens, Langston Hughes was a figure of enormous importance in the Harlem Renaissance, a period in which a number of African-American writers and artists in Harlem began to make their presence known (Corbett, 1). Hughes attended Columbia University for a period of time but obtained his college degree from Lincoln University in Pennsylvania where he supported himself by working in a laundry and as a busboy (Corbett, 2).
Many of Hughes' poems reflect his concerns, such as "The Weary Blues" and "The Negro Speaks of Rivers." Though Hughes has been called the Poet Laureate of the Negro Race," the University of Kansas (3) argues that he was the most original of all African-American poets and that his prolific output represented his ongoing determination to use his voice to express the conditions in which African-Americans lived in the first half of the twentieth century. Though he traveled widely, visiting his father in Mexico, many E
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