How Did Langston Hughes Influence African American Poetry

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Langston Hughes is known as one of the best African American poets, social activist, novelist, and playwright. He was a very influential figure during the Harlem Renaissance, which is the rebirth of the arts for African Americans in the 1920’s. Hughes wrote about the world and its happenings around him and he gave a voice for all African Americans during a very harsh time of segregation. Langston Hughes influenced many African American writers and poets during that time. Together, they changed how the world viewed African Americans as a whole because of their ability to take what was happening in the real world and make it into art and words that people could understand and relate to. Langston Hughes's most outstanding contribution to American literature was his creation of the blues poem.…show more content…
With origins leading back to the late 1800’s, blues music made celebrities out of black composers such as W.C Handy and singers like Bessie Smith. For Hughes, jazz and blues music had a different sound and meaning to him. Hughes liked to “record his poetry with jazz bands, most notably Charles Mingus in 1958 on the album Weary Blues” (Tkweme 503.) The blues poem is one of the most popular types of American poetry. According to the Academy of American Poets, “It comes from the African American oral tradition and the music tradition of the blues. A blues poem typically takes on themes such as struggle, despair, and sex” (AAP). According to African-American writer Ralph Ellison, he states that, “although the blues are often about struggle and depression, they are also full of determination to overcome difficulty, through sheer toughness of spirit” (AAP). Hughes had a very unique style unlike any other writer, which made him stand out with the way he mixed jazz music and blues with a traditional form of

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