Langston Hughes: Poems
Langston Hughes’s “The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain”
Langston Hughes was one of the most prolific writers of Harlem Renaissance era. Hughes's works are best known for the sense of black pride they convey and Hughes's implantation of jazz into his poetry. In 1926, Hughes wrote the critically acclaimed essay, "The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain" for The Nation magazine. In this essay, Hughes scolds artists who shy away from their racial identity to satisfy fearful Negros and white audiences. Hughes's message to white audiences recognizes their interest in black art for means of stereotypical entertainment. Some of Hughes's most powerful poems, including "I, Too" and "Freedom," serve as keen evidence of the blasphemous behavior of Negro artists and white audiences of his time.
In "The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain," Hughes speaks of a young Negro poet who has proclaimed he does not want to be an African-American poet, but instead, just a poet. Hughes associates this comment with the Negro poet meaning he would rather be a white poet and a whiter person. Nina Baym cites the evidence of Hughes's outspoken protest on this matter, stating, "Early and late, Hughes's poems demanded that African Americans be...
Join Now to View Premium Content
GradeSaver provides access to 1123 study guide PDFs and quizzes, 8639 literature essays, 2328 sample college application essays, 378 lesson plans, and ad-free surfing in this premium content, “Members Only” section of the site! Membership includes a 10% discount on all editing orders.
Already a member? Log in