Anti-racialism in Langston Hughes Poetry

Question: Elements of Anti-racialism in Langston Hughes Poetry. Anti-racialism in Langston Hughes Poetry


Racism stands for the division of a group from another group because of color. This nastic process was inaugurated in the United States of America in the 1600s. According to the Oxford Learners’ Dictionary, Racism refers to the unfair treatment of people who belong to a different race; violent behavior toward them. In other words, it is a belief that some races of people better than others.

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Langston Hughes as an Anti-Racist

Langston Hughes (1901-1967) was a twentieth-century American poet with a strong discussion of racism in his poetry. A moving note of anti-apartheid elements continues throughout most of his poetry.

The United American dream

Langston Hughes is similar to Martin Luther King Jr in respect to the American dream. The dream of the poet is that America will be a nation of oneness and the people of America must have not a shattered dream. In his poems “I Too Sing America” and “Harlem”, he has advocated for the united dream of America. He asserts that when the dream is postponed, there are no bounds of frustration and despair, but he never loses his hope and his hope is the strength of the black community.

Maybe it just sags

like a heavy load.

So, through bearing a strong united dream, he has disclosed him as an anti-racialist.


As a black American, Langston Hughes could not tolerate the white community’s hostile treatment of Negroes. In all his poems he directly opposes the discriminatory behavior of the white community. In his famous poem “I Too Sing America” ​​the poet describes that one day America will come out of its limitations and appreciate the small Negro ethnic group as its wealth and at that time white people will feel ashamed. In the words of the poet:


I’ll be at the table

When company comes.

Nobody’ll dare

Say to me,

“Eat in the kitchen,”


By these lines, the poet means to say that future will be free from racism. Such thinking and advocacy prove him as a poet of anti-racialism or humanity.

Ancientness of the Negro Community

One of the anti-apartheid elements of Langston Hughes is the proclamation of the ancientness of the negroes in civilized human history. At the age of seventeen, he writes the poem “The Negro Speaks of Rivers” in which he mentions the rivers to uphold the ancientness of the black community that is as old as the rivers and free like the rivers. The blacks were not a nation of slaves, but they had been slaves because of the greediness of the imperialists. As a result of this, this community in an affluent country like America has been struggling from the independence of America but they have not attained their constitutional rights yet.

Slavery system

Langston Hughes has symbolically represented the slavery system in his poem “The Negro Speaks of America” by referring to the golden and muddy Mississippi to link with the slavery system and Abraham Lincoln who was the sixteenth president of America and fought for the constitutional rights of the negroes and won over the civil war but still the black community is suffering from their rights. Thus, the poet is an anti-racialist.

Aspiration, dignity, and self-realization

In the guise of intellectual and artistic talents, Hughes has stood up against racism. In the well-known poem “The Weary Blues”, the poet depicts the depressing and lonely situation of the Negroes. But he never lost his desire to be dignified. Rather, he tells the readers that every bitter situation for the black community will come to an end if they are not weakened and suffer from a lack of self-confidence.


They’ll see how beautiful I am

And be ashamed—


To conclude, Langston Hughes is not only anti-apartheid but also a poet of inspiration and aspiration for the black community and the people of the entire world because of his anti-apartheid message.

SR Sarker
SR Sarker
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