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Friday Poem: Langston Hughes

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Langston Hughes (born James Mercer Langston Hughes) was an American poet, author, playwright and activist, born in Missouri on February 1 1902.

Image: Wikimedia Commons

He was one of the first artists to pioneer jazz poetry, and is regarded as one of the leaders of the Harlem Renaissance in New York.

His first poetry collection, The Weary Blues, was published in 1926. He published several more books of poetry, and his first novel, Not Without Laughter,was published in 1930, winning the Harmon Gold Medal for literature.

Hughes died in New York on May 22 1967, after complications arose from a surgery related to prostate cancer. His ashes are buried under the floor in the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem.

Extract from 'Let America be America Again' by Langston Hughes

Let America be America again.

Let it be the dream it used to be.

Let it be the pioneer on the plain

Seeking a home where he himself is free.

 

(America never was America to me.)

 

Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed—

Let it be that great strong land of love

Where never kings connive nor tyrants scheme

That any man be crushed by one above.

 

(It never was America to me.)

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