Hughes started composing poems in Lincoln. He spent a year in Mexico after graduating from high school, followed by a year at Columbia University in New York City. Hughes arrived to Washington, D.C. in November 1924, and his first collection of poetry, The Weary Blues (Knopf, 1926), was published by Alfred A. Knopf. The book received critical acclaim and was a bestseller. In addition to writing poetry, Hughes worked as an editor for several newspapers in Washington, D.C., including the American Hebrew and the Pittsburgh Courier. He also wrote essays for various magazines.
Hughes's second collection of poems, Not Without Laughter (Knopf, 1929), was also well-received by critics. It included some of his most famous poems, such as "The Negroes' Prayer" and "God Bless America". By this time, Langston Hughes had become one of the most popular poets in the United States. His works were available in many editions across the country and had been translated into several languages. In 1930, Hughes won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. The same year, he traveled to Europe, where he visited more than 20 countries and lectured about the United States. Back home in the U.S., Hughes helped establish the Harlem Renaissance, a cultural movement that began in the 1920s among African Americans in New York City. He edited several journals during this time period and served as president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).
Hughes pioneered poetry by writing lines that blended how black people spoke and the jazz and blues music they listened to. With "The Weary Blues," written in 1923 and published in his 1926 collection, he pioneered the use of the blues genre in poetry. He also wrote about racial injustice and discrimination in poems such as "John Henry" and "The Negroes' Prayer." Hughes helped to promote the work of other black poets including Duke Ellington, Langston Hughes, and James Weldon Johnson. He arranged concerts featuring famous black musicians such as Bessie Smith, Louis Armstrong, and Duke Ellington.
Hughes worked with actors and directors to put on plays about black life for audiences of both blacks and whites. His efforts led to the creation of a permanent theater company at Howard University called the Black Theatre Company. The company first performed in 1933 and continued to produce works by black playwrights until it closed in 1969. During this time, it staged over 30 productions including several by Hughes himself.
Hughes was also one of the first black men to publish an album of poetry called We Wear the Mask. It included photographs taken by Jacob Riis who documented the lives of New York City's immigrant population around the turn of the 20th century. The book has been cited as an influence on Allen Ginsberg and Robert Lowell.
He worked as an assistant cook, launderer, and busboy throughout this period. He also traveled to Africa and Europe as a sailor. Back in America, he joined the staff of PM, a newspaper published in Cleveland.
His first collection of poems, The Weary Blues, was published in 1926. It was followed by several more books over the next few years. In addition to poetry, Hughes wrote essays, reviews, and stories. He also recorded his observations on jazz music in articles that were later compiled into a book called Jazz: Its History and Literature (1936).
In 1937, Hughes moved to Detroit where he became one of the leading voices in the fight against racial segregation in the United States. He died there of tuberculosis in 1967 at the age of 61.
Among other things, Langston Hughes wrote about black life in America through the eyes of a young man who had grown up in the south during slavery days. His poems focused on issues such as racism, poverty, and war. They made him one of the most popular poets of the Harlem Renaissance.
After the success of The Weary Blues, many publishers sought out Hughes to publish more of his work. However, he rarely received any payment for his efforts.
"Dream Variation"... Hughes, published in his first poetry book, The Weary Blues, in 1926. As the speaker yearns for independence and inclusion in American culture, the poem articulates the desire of African Americans. This poem has been interpreted as reflecting Hughes' own experience as an aspiring black poet in New York City.
Hughes wrote several poems during this period that deal with similar themes of identity and oppression. In these poems, he imagines what it would be like to belong to another race or culture entirely. He also explores how people are affected by their surroundings - especially those who are different from them - and the extent to which they can express themselves freely.
The Weary Blues is a collection of fourteen poems divided into four sections: Dream Variations; Postcards From Home; Fugitives From Justice; And So To Sleep...
It was written over a two-year period (1924-26) while Hughes worked as a copywriter at Black Swan Press in Harlem. The poems were published under a pen name because Black Swan wanted nothing to do with controversial subjects such as racism. However, after its success, the press decided not to use it again and thus made Hughes' real identity known to the public for the first time.
During this period, Hughes began to write poetry, and one of his professors exposed him to the works of Carl Sandburg and Walt Whitman, both of whom Hughes would later acknowledge as key influences. In addition to literature, Hughes also read history books about famous people such as Abraham Lincoln and Charles Darwin, which helped him understand how a person can achieve success through determination and hard work.
Hughes said that he wanted to be a writer since he was a child when he used to make up stories. He also liked to sing and play instruments such as the guitar. Because of these interests, his parents encouraged him to pursue writing as a career. They bought him a dictionary for Christmas and sent him to school each day with writing tools in his backpack. By the time he reached high school, Hughes was already writing poems and essays that students praised for their creativity and humor. His favorite class was English because he learned how to analyze different authors' styles and techniques while still maintaining consistency within himself. This skill would help Hughes develop his own voice as a poet.
After graduating from high school, Hughes went to New York City to study literature at Brooklyn College. While there, he wrote weekly reviews for The Brooklyn Rail, a literary magazine published by his alma mater.
Hughes composed the poem while crossing the Mississippi River on his way to visit his father in Mexico when he was seventeen. It was initially published in The Crisis the next year, establishing Hughes' literary career. The poem is often included in collections of African American poetry.
Langston Hughes referred to the Mississippi as "the greatest river in the world". He made this statement in a letter to Carl Van Vechten, a white New York socialite and poet who had been influential in introducing black artists and performers such as Duke Ellington, Bessie Smith, and Bill Bailey into popular culture. In this letter, Hughes explains that he has just returned from visiting his family in Mexico where he wrote about his experiences on the river.
In addition to being able to navigate its entire length on his first try, Hughes claimed to have also caught a fish, a gar, near the end of his journey that weighed over forty pounds. He concluded his letter by saying that upon hearing this news, Van Vechten should "have a church built on the banks of the Mississippi" because it was only right that something so magnificent should be worshipped.
The fact that Hughes wrote about his trip before there were any highways across much of the country makes his statement even more impressive.