Langston Hughes (1902-67) was an American-Negro poet, short-story writer, novelist, columnist and playwright. He was born in Joplin, Missouri, and grew up in Kansas, Illinois and Ohio. He came of a very poor but noted black family.
Langston Hughes began his literary career at an early age and he published his first collection of poems ‘The Negro Speaks of Rivers’ in 1921 when he was only nineteen. He received his early education in local schools and afterwards attended Columbia University for a year, but poverty drove him to take up odd jobs like working on ships. Some years later he attended Lincoln University. In the 1930s Hughes was influenced by the ideals of socialism. Besides being a much-acclaimed poet he wrote short stories and plays also. He wrote on the theme of racial oppression and class discrimination.
Some of his well known poetic works are: ‘The Negro Speaks of Rivers‘ (1921), ‘The Weary Blues’ (1926), ‘Pierrot’ (1926), ‘Come to the Waldorf Astoria’ (1931) ‘Let America be America Again’ etc. As a poet, he represented the voice of the oppressed Negros for which he is hailed as the ‘Poet Laureate of the Negro Race’.