American author Langston Hughes, a moving spirit in the 1920s art movement, often called the Harlem Renaissance, expressed the mind and spirit of most African Americans for nearly half a century. In high school, Hughes learned about the works of the poet Carl Sandburg (1878-1896), another poet from the Midwest. Also at this time, Hughes himself began writing poetry and developing his unique style. He began to send his work to magazines, but all of them were rejected.
Later, in 1924, Hughes went to live with his mother in Washington, D.C. He expected to earn enough money to return to college, but working as a hotel waiter paid very little, and life in the country's capital, where racial tensions were fierce, made him unhappy. But he was able to write a lot of poems. The Weary Blues won first prize in 1925 in a literary contest sponsored by Opportunity, a magazine published by the National Urban League.
That summer, one of his essays and another poem won prizes in the Crisis literary contest. Meanwhile, Hughes had caught the attention of Carl Van Vechten, a novelist and critic, who organized the publication of Hughes' first volume of poetry, The Weary Blues (19). When he was born in Joplin, Missouri, on February 1, 1902, James Mercer Langston Hughes didn't live long in Missouri. ProSLetters from Langston (University of California Press), 201 Selected Letters of Langston Hughes (Alfred A.
Langston studied engineering at Columbia University for one year (1921-2), and eventually left because of racial prejudice in school, as well as his growing desire to return to Harlem and write poetry. James Mercer Langston Hughes (February 1, 1902 — May 22, 196) was an American poet, social activist, novelist, playwright, and columnist from Joplin, Missouri. The son of teacher Carrie Langston and James Nathaniel Hughes, James Mercer Langston Hughes was born in Joplin, Missouri.