Tuesday, March 31, 2020

2020 Post #17 -- A Harlem Renaissance Classic

by Donte' Demonbruen

James Mercer Langston Hughes was born on February 1, 1902 in Joplin, Missouri. Langston Hughes was an African American writer whose poems, columns, novels and plays made him a leading figure in the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920's.

It was during this time that Hughes first began to write poetry, and one of his teachers introduced him to the poetry of Carl Sandburg and Walt Whitman both of whom Hughes would later cite as primary influences.

Langston’s 1926 poem "I, Too" is a riveting poem that sparked much conversation during the Harlem Renaissance but is still very much relevant today in 2020. Hughes focused on the importance of being accepted and treated equally in America, two important topics in today’s society.

As a class, read the poem aloud and when finished, take a few moments to allow those words to sink into the minds of the students who just experienced Hughes's writing. Ask students how those lines relate to the world we live in today in America. Are we still fighting the same exact fight for equality or are we battling new demons? If the students respond with "we aren’t battling the same demons," then what demons are we battling?


Further Reading: 

Donte’ Demonbreum is a senior English major currently studying English education at a four-year public university in Clarksville, Tennessee, Austin Peay State University. Donte’ enjoys reading young adult literature in his free time and being with family. He graduates from APSU this spring with an English degree and a minor in professional education. You can follow him on Twitter @MrDemonbreum.

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