Historical Approach to Langston Hughes' Poems

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Historical Approach to Hughes Poems 1 Langston Hughes was a very popular African American poet, who contributed greatly to the Harlem movement in the United States. Throughout his life, most of Hughes works were about Harlem and the racism that was prevalent in the country. He lived and worked in Harlem. Hughes life Spanned 65 years from 1902-1967, and in that time he wrote many poems, short stories, plays and Novels. When I take into light a historical approach while reading Hughes different poems I look at the time period when they were written. What is happening in these times? What are the major social issues? Hughes poems were written at a time where segregation was still occurring. A time when African Americans were not treated as equals to the white man. Hughes has many poems ranging from love poems, whether they be love of a woman or love of his race, such as ‘Jazzonia’ and ‘Juke Box Love Song’. In a Harlem cabaret Six long-headed jazzers play. A dancing girl whose eyes are bold Lifts high a dress of silken gold. (Jazzonia, Hughes, lines 3-7) Jazzonia was inspired by romance and jazz in the 1920’s. However was it romance for a woman or romance for a culture? Many may see this excerpt as being about a woman, however I see it about pride in his culture. Jazz was a big part of the African American culture in the time when this poem was written, and this shows how proud he was of who he was. The African American culture were just starting to show their talent through music, and just starting to be seen for that talent by the Historical Approach to Hughes Poems 2 rest of the country. When I think about a love poem for a woman that Hughes wrote it would have to be ‘Love Song for Lucinda’, Love Is a ripe plum Growing on a purple tree. Taste it once And the spell
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