James Mercer Langston Hughes was a renowned poet, novelist, playwright, librettist, essayist, and translator born in Joplin, Missouri on February 1, 1902.He was the son of Carrie Hughes (née Langston) and James Nathaniel Hughes, and is remembered as one of the most influential figures of the Harlem Renaissance. Langston's father was so frustrated by racism towards African-Americans that he left his family and moved to Mexico. His mother and brother followed his stepfather, who often left the family in search of higher wages. Langston stayed in Cleveland to finish high school.
During his schooling in Cleveland, he worked at a school newspaper and was editor of a yearbook, and even then began writing his first poems, stories and plays. He and his younger brother John Mercer Langston worked for the abolitionist cause and helped lead the Ohio Anti-Slavery Society in 1858.When his grandmother died, Langston lived with family friends for a couple of years and then with his mother. At the university, Langston earned fairly good grades, but was forced to leave the establishment in 1922 due to the constant racism imposed on him. Langston later said that he had rhythm in his blood because, as everyone knows, all African Americans have a rhythm.
He also stated that one of his paternal great-grandparents was Sam Clay, a whiskey distiller, a relative of statesman Henry Clay. Rather than accepting his dominant father's demands for a degree in mining engineering, Langston moved to New York City and enrolled at Columbia University. He joined his father in Mexico City briefly in 1919 before returning to Cleveland to finish high school. After receiving his diploma in 1920, he returned to Mexico City.For Langston Hughes' lyrics, a combination of diverse genre traditions from the folklore of black songs is typical.
ProSeletters from Langston (University of California Press, 201 Selected Letters of Langston Hughes) (Alfred A. Knopf) is an example of this combination.Langston Hughes is remembered as one of the greatest contributors to the artistic realm of the Harlem Renaissance. His legacy lives on through his works which continue to inspire people around the world.