A negro speaks of rivers

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a negro speaks of rivers

The Negro Speaks of Rivers by Langston Hughes

Langston Hughes has long been acknowledged as the voice, and his poem, The Negro Speaks of Rivers, the song, of the Harlem Renaissance. Although he was only seventeen when he composed it, Hughes already had the insight to capture in words the strength and courage of black people in America.

Artist E.B. Lewis acts as interpreter and visionary, using watercolor to pay tribute to Hughess timeless poem, a poem that every child deserves to know.
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Published 10.04.2019

Langston Hughes - The Negro Speaks of Rivers

The Negro Speaks of Rivers. Langston Hughes - I've known rivers: I' ve known rivers ancient as the world and older than the flow of human blood in.
Langston Hughes

The Negro Speaks of Rivers

Langston Hughes The form of the poem reinforces these themes. In Mexico, he became a wealthy landowner and lawyer. She inspired the boy to read books and value an education. When his grandmother died in , Hughes lived with family friends and various relatives in Kansas. In he joined his mother and new stepfather in Lincoln, Illinois, where he attended grammar school.

The Congo, called by Lindsay the "Mistrel River," and astir with cannibals and witch-doctors, is reinterpreted as a pastoral, nourishing, maternal setting in Hughes: "I built my hut near the Congo and it lulled me to sleep. This poem was written as an internal dialogue with his father whose "strange dislike of his own people" baffled and disturbed Hughes, and, of course, implicated his son as object of that dislike Hughes , ; Rampersand , In this poem, Hughes joins affirmative blackness to a universal human quest, by putting into a global context the racial stresses and demands of the United States. Du Bois. Three of the four flow through regions of colored peoples; they are "rivers in our past"—the word "our" is marked Hughes , The fourth is a river still reverberating with the past hundred years of American history; it is the river on which, Hughes says, Lincoln "had seen slavery at its worst, and had decided within himself that it should be removed from American life ibid. In contrast to the voyeuristic fantasies of "The Congo," this poem is a statement about vocation, an emancipation into blackness: "My soul has grown deep like the rivers" Hughes ,

For the next step, you'll be taken to a website to complete the donation and enter your billing information. You'll then be redirected back to LARB. To take advantage of all LARB has to offer, please create an account or log in before joining There is less than a week left to support our matching grant fund drive! Your tax-deductible donation made to LARB by pm, December 31, will be doubled thanks to an anonymous donor. Having recently graduated from high school, he was on a train heading to Mexico City, where he would spend just over a year with his father, a man he barely knew. Louis when inspiration struck:.

Summary of The Negro Speaks of Rivers

Langston Hughes wrote "The Negro Speaks of Rivers" while on a train ride to Mexico, where he would live with his father for one year. He had just graduated from high school in Cleveland , Ohio, making him a mere eighteen years old. The poem was published in Crisis Magazine the magazine of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in , a year later. When his train crossed the Mississippi River, Hughes was inspired by its beauty and was also reminded of its role in sustaining slavery in America. The sun was setting, and Hughes had a long journey ahead of him. He took out a letter his father had written him and wrote this poem on the back of its pages. Hughes helped to inspire and unite the black community when their voice was not appreciated by a predominantly white society, and as a result, he became the unofficial poet laureate of the Harlem Renaissance.

Reprinted with the permission of Harold Ober Associates Incorporated. Langston Hughes is the poet laureate of African-American experience — a popular writer of the Harlem Renaissance who gave hopeful expression to the aspirations of the oppressed, even as he decried racism and injustice. In addition to poetry, he published fiction, drama, autobiography, and translations. His work continues to serve as a model of wide empathy and social commitment. I, too, sing America.


  1. Dominique L. says:

    His soul has grown deep, just like the rivers.

  2. Karin Z. says:

    My soul has grown deep like the rivers.

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    The Negro Speaks of Rivers

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