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Some of the luminaries of the Harlem Renaissance poetry include Langston Hughes, Claude McKay, Johnson, Countee Cullen and James Weldon. Langston Hughes (1902-1967) James Langston Hughes was born in 1902 in Missouri. He was educated at Columbia University and traveled often to Africa and Europe while working as a seaman. He published his first poetry book, Weary Blues, in 1924 in Washington. He contributed to the Renaissance movement through portraying the nature of Black life in American society. He engaged his work with jazz, thus appealing to the African-American masses during the Harlem Renaissance of 1920s. His work ‘The Negro Speaks of Rivers’ contributed much to expressing the Black struggles, love for music, and suffering in the society. He is considered as the most prolific Black poet during the Renaissance period. ‘The Negro Speaks of Rivers’ His poem “The Negro Speaks of Rivers’ clearly demonstrates some elements of double consciousness. The poem articulates the long struggles of Black people and speaks of the struggles of the African Americans with their own identity. It speaks of the injustice to W.E.B DuBois and symbolically represents the life of Blacks in the life of the ‘River’. ...
Accordingly, Hughes asserts that ‘I looked upon the Nile and raised pyramids above it’ (Hughes, 1994, l.6) and also ‘I built my hut near Congo and it lulled me to sleep.’ The two statements indicate the awareness of origin of Black people and the need to return to the African continent. In addition, Hughes claims that ‘I heard the singing of Mississippi’ (Hughes, 1994, l.7) and seen its ‘muddy’ turn all ‘golden’ to ‘sunset’ (Hughes, 1994, l.7). The statement reminds the Blacks of the emancipation of Black people through the end of slavery in the Southern States. The use of river symbolizes ancient times. The main themes in the poem are an expression of the Black heritage and cultural history such as the pyramids and huts. Another theme is the battle for cultural identity in the American society and end of slavery. The symbolism defines the past struggles and calls for the unity of African Americans in expressing their identity. The imagery such as pyramids demonstrates the background and origins of the Black people. The ‘blood flow’ symbolizes the historical struggles in ending slavery in the South. The poem highlights the economic and social inequalities that are faced by Black Americans and identity conflict that lead to low self-esteem. Claude McKay He was born in Jamaica in 1890 and died in 1940. He moved to the United States to attend Tuskegee Institute, but later moved to Kansas State University to study agriculture. He used his poetry work to demonstrate the negative impact of injustices that were faced by the Blacks in America. His poems focus on social and political life of the Blacks and his passion for his homeland Jamaica. His poems contributed to setting the tone of ...Show more


Harlem renaissance poets Name: University: Abstract: The Harlem Renaissance was a cultural revolution that occurred in the United States in the 1920s. African-Americans created a new cultural environment in Harlem and cooperated in demanding for equality in American society…
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Harlem Renaissance Poets
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