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Langston Hughes opened his first volume of poems with the expression of his– and every Negro’s– “soul world”: “I am a Negro: /Black as the night is black, /Black like the depths of my Africa” (Emanuel 17). When the women at the box office of the only movie theatre in Lawrence, Kansas pushed the twelve-year old boys nickel back and pointed to a new sign “Color Not Admitted,” she laid a shaping hand on that world. Hughes spent a lifetime illuminating that world through poems, stories, novels, lectures, and various other literary forms – with virtuosity and understanding so unmatched that he has been unofficially granted the title as Negro Poet Laureate and Dean of Negro Writers in America.
Langston Hughes’ early life prepared him well to write about humanity, for as a child and young man he lived in different places and met many different kinds of people. His growing up years were, altogether, not very happy. But they provided him with experiences that many people never have. Born to Nathanial Hughes and Carrie Mercere on February 1, 1902 in Joplin Missouri, young Langston form the very start was a very bright and curious child (Haskins 2). But his home life was neither happy not very secure. His parents did not get along well. There were often many arguments about money. Mr. Hughes was a “penny – pincher”; he seemed to resent event the necessary expenses, except when it came to clothes for himself. There were also arguments about moving. Mr. Hughes was a lawyer, Langston’s mother thought her husband would be able to find work in another city, however Mr. Hughes was convinced there was no city in the racially segregated United States where he could find opportunity. Finally, Mr. Hughes announced that he was leaving.
Hughes spent a lonely boyhood after his mother and father split, living his first twelve years with his grandparents and friends of the family in Lawrence, Kansas. His moth...
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