The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain by Langston Hughes – Essay Example

The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain by Langston Hughes – Essay Example

Langston Hughes is a prominent essayist, playwright, novelist, poet, anthologist and translator of Spanish poetry. His literary heritage consists of more than 50 works.

Hughes’s family constantly moved from place to place during his childhood and adolescence years. His mother moved from town to town in search of work, trying different positions of a waitress, a typist or a secretary. Hughes himself began to look for part-time jobs since elementary school. In 1920, he graduated from high school and studied at the Columbia University for one winter. Then he worked as a waiter, a clerk, an elevator operator, a porter and a bellhop. He sailed twice to Africa and Holland as a cabin boy on a cargo ship; lived in France and Italy. However, at last, in 1925, he returned to Washington.

His first collection of poetry, “The Weary Blues”, 1926, allowed Hughes to graduate from Lincoln University. He became a professional writer but did not become financially secure for life.

There are several periods in the works of Hughes, though the main feature remains the same – the nation, which rebels against racial discrimination. The originality of his poetry, which has absorbed the wide variety of Negroes’ experience, lies in alliance of bitterness and joy, sadness and humor.

His famous work “The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain”was written and published in 1926 in the nation Magazine. It is a short essay, which became a proclamation and symbol of the Harlem Renaissance. The main idea of the essay is that black writers have just as much right to become famous as the white ones. The black writers just had to stop copying the works and ideas of the white writers and try to create something new and unique. One black writer once approached Hughes and said that he would like to become a real poet, not a Negro poet. To Hughes it meant that this writer wanted to lose his racial identity and become white. In his essay, Langston encouraged black writers to be proud of themselves, and helped them to find their inner beauty and bring it out in their writing.