The Poetry of Langston Hughes

Poet and Playwright Langston Hughes was a prominent member of the 1920’s Harlem Renaissance. Often incorporating jazz and black folk rhythms, his writing on the African-American experience earned him the unofficial title Poet Laureate of Harlem.

Disillusioned with the NAACP, Hughes like many African-Americans of the time turned to the Communist Party, because of its militant stance fighting for civil rights and against poverty, racism, lynching, and unemployment. In fact, no ethnic group joined the CP more and opened more local branches during this time than African-Americans.


Poetry of Langston Hughes


One More “S” in the U.S.A by Langston Hughes
Put one more s in the U.S.A. To make it Soviet. One more s in the U.S.A. Oh, we’ll live to see it yet. When the land belongs to the farmers and the factories to the working men — The U.S.A. when we take control Will be the U.S.S.A. then.

I, too, sing America.

I am the darker brother.
They send me to eat in the kitchen
When company comes,
But I laugh,
And eat well,
And grow strong.

Tomorrow,
I’ll be at the table
When company comes.
Nobody’ll dare
Say to me,
“Eat in the kitchen,”
Then.

Besides,
They’ll see how beautiful I am
And be ashamed—

I, too, am America.