Negro, By Langston Hughes

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Langston Hughes is known as one of the most influential African American poets, and he has a large collection of works that still influence African American society today. One of his most famous works is “Negro,” which is a poem that highlights African American identity through the personification of African American heritage. The narrator is the personified figure that connects African Americans by explaining historical allusions that contributed to African American heritage and culture. This personified narrator serves to enhance and clarify the theme of unified heritage among African Americans text as a whole by connecting recorded experiences by Africans and African Americans of the past and present, highlighting the history of African …show more content…

Hughes wrote this poem in the first person, so the poem is laden with “my,” “I” and “me” throughout (1-19). As a result, the audience is forced into the perspective of the narrator, which features various accounts from various time periods, including the history of African slaves under the Roman Empire, the Belgian Congo, Ancient Egypt, and colonial America (3-15). While it is understood that one person can not actually live through all of these historic events, the Hughes structurally connects them all into this personified figure; thus linking together modern African Americans and their experiences with their African ancestors and their history through the narrator. The structure of “Negro,” which is written in the first person, thrusts the audience into the experiences of the narrator, which is the unifying personification of African American …show more content…

The modern African American, according to Hughes, feels the discrimination and hate against themselves just as their ancestors did, how they are ‘lynched still’ in the United States, which further connects past Africans to present African Americans (16). In addition to connecting the modern African American to their ancestors, this idea of unity among other modern African Americans can be felt with the commiseration due to the universal suffering from discrimination. Hughes wrote this poem in the 1920s, which, while a time of postwar celebration, still contained heavy racial tension and discrimination against African Americans. By contributing to the Harlem Renaissance and resisting the racial prejudice in this era of segregation, Hughes’ narrator in “Negro” also unifies isolated and downtrodden African Americans of the 1920s, and many African Americans today, through a universal pain felt in African Americans. The historical context and personification combined also emphasize the unity between African Americans of the 1920s through a universal understanding of pain and

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