Langston Hughes Quotes

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Langston Hughes

1936 photo by Carl Van Vechten
Born James Mercer Langston Hughes
(1902-02-01)February 1, 1902
Joplin, Missouri, United States
Died May 22, 1967(1967-05-22) (aged 65)
New York City, New York, United States
Occupation Poet, columnist, dramatist, essayist, novelist
Ethnicity African American, White American, Native American
Period 1926–64

In all my life, I have never been free. I have never been able to do anything with freedom, except in the field of my writing.
Langston Hughes
Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken-winged bird that cannot fly.
Langston Hughes
Perhaps the mission of an artist is to interpret beauty to people – the beauty within themselves.
Langston Hughes
One of the great needs of Negro children is to have books about themselves and their lives that can help them be proud.
Langston Hughes
My chief literary influences have been Paul Laurence Dunbar, Carl Sandburg, and Walt Whitman. My favorite public figures include Jimmy Durante, Marlene Dietrich, Mary McLeod Bethune, Mrs. Franklin D. Roosevelt, Marian Anderson, and Henry Armstrong.
Langston Hughes
I have discovered in life that there are ways of getting almost anywhere you want to go, if you really want to go.
Langston Hughes
Even the 'Negro' shows like 'Amos and Andy' and 'Beulah' are written largely by white writers – the better to preserve the stereotypes, I imagine.
Langston Hughes
Writing is like travelling. It's wonderful to go somewhere, but you get tired of staying.
Langston Hughes
My personal experience has been that in my 25 years of writing, I have not been asked to do more than four or five commercial one-shot scripts. These were performed on major national hook-ups but produced for me no immediate additional jobs or requests. One script for BBC was done around the world with an all-star cast.
Langston Hughes
Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken-winged bird that cannot fly.
Langston Hughes
Beauty for some provides escape, who gain a happiness in eyeing the gorgeous buttocks of the ape or Autumn sunsets exquisitely dying.
Langston Hughes
Without going outside his race, and even among the better classes with their 'white' culture and conscious American manners, but still Negro enough to be different, there is sufficient matter to furnish a black artist with a lifetime of creative work.
Langston Hughes
Very early in life, it seemed to me that there was a relationship between the problems of the Negro people in America and the Jewish people in Russia, and that the Jewish people's problems were worse than ours.
Langston Hughes
We younger Negro artists who create now intend to express our individual dark-skinned selves without fear or shame. If white people are pleased, we are glad. If they are not, it doesn't matter. We know we are beautiful. And ugly too.
Langston Hughes
Jazz, to me, is one of the inherent expressions of Negro life in America: the eternal tom-tom beating in the Negro soul – the tom-tom of revolt against weariness in a white world, a world of subway trains, and work, work, work; the tom-tom of joy and laughter, and pain swallowed in a smile.
Langston Hughes
My writing has been largely concerned with the depicting of Negro life in America.
Langston Hughes
Violent anger makes me physically ill.
Let the rain kiss you. Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops. Let the rain sing you a lullaby.
Langston Hughes
My soul has grown deep like the rivers.
Certainly there is, for the American Negro artist who can escape the restrictions the more advanced among his own group would put upon him, a great field of unused material ready for his art.
Langston Hughes
I swear to the Lord, I still can't see, why Democracy means, everybody but me.
Langston Hughes
When peoples care for you and cry for you, they can straighten out your soul.
Langston Hughes
What happens to a dream deferred? Does it dry up Like a raisin in the sun? Or does it explode?
Langston Hughes
I was a victim of a stereotype. There were only two of us Negro kids in the whole class, and our English teacher was always stressing the importance of rhythm in poetry. Well, everybody knows – except us – that all Negroes have rhythms, so they elected me class poet.
Langston Hughes
Humor is laughing at what you haven't got when you ought to have it.
Like a welcome summer rain, humor may suddenly cleanse and cool the earth, the air and you.
Langston Hughes
We Negro writers, just by being black, have been on the blacklist all our lives. Censorship for us begins at the color line.
Langston Hughes
The Jewish people and the Negro people both know the meaning of Nordic supremacy. We have both looked into the eyes of terror.
Langston Hughes
Hold fast to dreams For when dreams go Life is a barren field Frozen with snow.
Langston Hughes
It's such a Bore Being always Poor.
To my mind, it is the duty of the younger Negro artist, if he accepts any duties at all from outsiders, to change through the force of his art that old whispering 'I want to be white,' hidden in the aspirations of his people, to 'Why should I want to be white? I am a Negro – and beautiful!'
Langston Hughes
I live in Harlem, New York City. I am unmarried. I like 'Tristan,' goat's milk, short novels, lyric poems, heat, simple folk, boats and bullfights; I dislike 'Aida,' parsnips, long novels, narrative poems, cold, pretentious folk, buses and bridges.
Langston Hughes
I must never write when I do not want to write.
An artist must be free to choose what he does, certainly, but he must also never be afraid to do what he might choose.
Langston Hughes
I will not take 'but' for an answer.