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15 Langston Hughes Facts: His Life & Accomplishments

Although Langston Hughes is probably most known for his contribution to poetry in his work in the Harlem Renaissance movement, he was an outstanding traveler and writer. Discover fun and interesting Langston Hughes facts chronicling his career and life.

Who Was Langston Hughes?

You may have heard the term Langston Hughes before, but do you know who he is? Langston Hughes or James Mercer Langston Hughes is an infamous African American writer and thinker who ignited an entire revolution. However, he did it with the pen rather than resembling pickets or marching.

Langston Hughes is renowned for contributing to the literary movement dubbed”the Harlem Renaissance. His writings and poetry brought this literary movement in the 1920s to the forefront and helped shape America. Find out some interesting facts about the genius of literature Langston Hughes.

Langston Hughes Facts

Langston Hughes Facts

1. Innovator of Jazz Poetry

Langston Hughes is regarded as a pioneer for jazz poets that reflects Jazz music’s flow as well as its rhythm. The most famous one of Langston Hughes’ famous jazz poems is ” The Weary Blues.”

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2. Controversial BirthYear

In most cases, it is possible to locate Langston Hughes’ birth date listed as February 1, 1902, at Joplin, Missouri. But, uncovered research of Langston Hughes’ life could reveal that he was born in 1901, not February 1902.

3. Poet of the People

Langston Hughes has been called a poet of the masses. This lies in his portrayals of Black culture and the everyday. Hughes published about what he observed happening that surrounded him and inspired people to be proud to be African American.

4. A reporter for the Chicago Defender

Even though Lanston Hughes is best recognized for his contribution to his work in the Harlem Renaissance, he was also a skilled reporter. He was a writer for the renowned newspaper of African descent, the Chicago Defender, for 20 years between 1942 to 1962. He employed his position as a journalist to shed more light on the day’s difficult issues and highlight injustices both in America and around the world.

5. Newspaper Correspondent During the Spanish Civil War

The year 1937 was when The Baltimore Afro-American newspaper employed Hughes. He also wrote regarding The Spanish Civil War. Hughes lived in Spain in five months, creating 22 pieces about war-related areas of special interest, such as Black Americans volunteering in the Abraham Lincoln and Washington Brigades. He also composed two poems during the time, “Postcard from Spain” and “Letter from Spain.”

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6. Award-winning Writer

In his lifetime, Langston Hughes won several literary awards for his skills. The awards include:

  • Numerous awards and prizes are awarded for poetry contests, such as the Opportunity Amy Spingarn Contest as well as Witter Bynner Undergraduate Poetry Prize Contests
  • Intercollegiate Poetry Award in 1927
  • Golden Harmon Award in 1930
  • Guggenheim Fellowship in 1935
  • Rosenwald Fellowship in 1941
  • Ainsfeld-Wolfe Award in 1954
  • Spingarn Medal in 1960

7. Studied Engineering

Langston Hughes attended Columbia’s School of Mines, Engineering, and Chemistry from 1921 until 1922. Although he may have gone to engineering college to impress his dad, Langston decided this wasn’t his way of life and left after one year. However, during his experience studying at Columbia, Hughes became active in the Harlem culture movement. Though he could have left Columbia, he graduated with an undergraduate degree in Arts at Lincoln University using a scholarship.

8. Never Married

Langston Hughes’ enthralling nature and passion for writing led him to travel around the globe. An infamous love affair or marriage did not accompany his travels worldwide. In fact, throughout his entire life, Langston Hughes remained single status. He never married and did not have children. There are speculations and rumors about the sexuality of his partner.

9. Started His Memoir at 23

The memoir was not published until publication until almost 15 years after Hughes was first approached regarding the possibility of writing his autobiography, The Big Sea, at only 23. Because he was not up to the task at this young age and had a whole new world to discover and experience, it took him a bit of time to write his thoughts down in words.

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10. Mixed Ancestry

Langston Hughes made it clear in his time that his background in racial studies was diverse. His paternal great-grandfather was a Jewish trading slave, and his maternal great-grandfather was a white captain. His great-grandmothers both had been Black slaves. So whenever asked questions regarding his family’s background, Langston Hughes clarified he was “brown” rather than “black.”

11. Wrote Several Plays

The words of Langston Hughes didn’t stop at only reporting and poetry. He was able to write almost everything, including plays and short stories. Some of his most famous productions comprise Mulatto, Black Nativity, Simply Heaven, Tambourines to Glory, and Jerico-Jim Crow.

12. Wrote The Negro Speaks of Rivers at 17

A single of his well-known poems, ” The Negro Speaks of Rivers,” was composed by Langston Hughes in 1920, at the age of just 17. While traveling in Mexico with the father of his son, Hughes got the inspiration to create a work about his family and the strength and heritage of his family while crossing his crossing of the Mississippi River. The piece of writing is dedicated to W.E.B. DuBois, which The Crisis was then published in 1921.

13. Traveled the World

The process of inspiration requires effort, And Langston Hughes was never one to rest. Through his childhood and later throughout his life, he traveled across the globe, taking note of his fellow humans’ plight and inequalities. In addition, he traveled to Africa as a Steward aboard the freighter, but he also was a visitor to South America, Europe, and Asia.

14. Helped Launch the Magazine Fire!!

Fire! was the idea of Langston Hughes and Richard Nugent. The magazine was a key element in the development of the Harlem Renaissance movement, even though it was not a huge publication with a few issues. Although the magazine began with the idea of highlighting aspects of the African American condition, it was quickly canceled due to financial issues and the building being destroyed.

15. Wrote Poetry Until his Death

Langston Hughes is famous for his contributions to the world of poetry. Langston Hughes was never averse to writing poetry his life. Until he died in 1967 from complications from prostate cancer procedures, Langston Hughes continued to write poems. The last work published by Langston Hughes was The Panther & the Lash about the Black Power movement.

Ru is an entertainment nerd who likes to spill the beans about what's happening in the entertainment industry. She comes up with well-researched articles so that you can "Netflix and Chill." Come join her as she has a lot to tell her readers.


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