Langston Hughes (February 1, 1901 – May 22, 1967), was an African American writer, playwright and social activist, best known as a leading figure of the Harlem Renaissance. His work also had an influence on the world of jazz as he was an innovator of the jazz poetry art form.
However, becoming a famous author wasn’t an easy job for Hughes. Although he regularly contributed to his school’s literary magazine and other poetry magazines, his work would ultimately be rejected.
He didn’t get discouraged by that and kept on writing while working various odd jobs to help ends meet. In 1921, he finally managed to publish his first poem, and in 1926 his first book.
While most American poets of that period used to write obscure and esoteric poetry, Hughes adopted a more familiar language that helped increase his audience of readers.
Hughes’ work continues to be published and translated all around the world. In 1981, his Harlem home received a New York City Landmark status and was later added to the National Register of Places.
Here are 25 Langston Hughes quotes on life, dreams and never-ending hope:
Humor is your own unconscious therapy. Like a welcome summer rain, humor may suddenly cleanse and cool the earth, the air, and you.
Hold fast to dreams,/ For if dreams die/ Life is a broken-winged bird,/ That cannot fly.
A dream deferred is a dream denied.
Perhaps the mission of an artist is to interpret beauty to people — the beauty within themselves.
I have discovered in life that there are ways of getting almost anywhere you want to go, if you really want to go.
Life is for the living. Death is for the dead. Let life be like music. And death a note unsaid.
Let the rain kiss you. Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops. Let the rain sing you a lullaby.
When a man starts out to build a world, He starts first with himself.
The past has been a mint of blood and sorrow. That must not be true of tomorrow.
Sometimes when I’m lonely,/ Don’t know why,/ Keep thinkin’ I won’t be lonely/ By and by.
I tire so of hearing people say ‘Let things take their course. Tomorrow is another day’. I do not need my freedom when I’m dead. I cannot live on tomorrow’s bread.
Humor is laughing at what you haven’t got when you ought to have it.
Well, I like to eat, sleep, drink, and be in love. I like to work, read, learn, and understand life.
Folks, I’m telling you,/ birthing is hard/ and dying is mean–/ so get yourself a little loving in between.
The only way to get a thing done is to start to do it, then keep on doing it, and finally you’ll finish it.
I’m so tired of waiting, aren’t you, for the world to become good and beautiful and kind?
A world I dream where black or white,/ Whatever race you be,/ Will share the bounties of the Earth/ And every man is free.
Road’s in front o’ me, Nothin’ to do but walk.
I look at my own body/ With eyes no longer blind-/ And I see that my own hands can make/ The world that’s in my mind.
O, let my land be a land where Liberty Is crowned with no false patriotic wreath. But opportunity is real, and life is free, Equality is in the air we breathe.
Because my mouth is wide with laughter and my throat is deep with song, you do not think I suffer after I have held my pain so long? Because my mouth is wide with laughter, you do not hear my inner cry? Because my feet are gay with dancing you do not know I die?
I dream a world… where wretchedness will hang its head and joy, like a pearl, attends the needs of all mankind. Of such I dream, my world!
Liberty! Freedom! Democracy! True anyhow, no matter how many liars use those words.
I stuck my head out the window this morning and spring kissed me bang in the face.
When peoples care for you and cry for you, they can straighten out your soul.