Until the first part of the 20th century, the world of poetry was dominated by Caucasian artists. White poetry written about the experiences of white people was the only kind of verse most folks had ever heard. The Harlem Renaissance introduced many talented African American writers, but one writer stood out amongst them all. Langston Hughes was one of the most beneficial and influential writers of the Harlem Renaissance. Langston Hughes was the first African American author to support himself through his writing. He wrote in several literary genres. By the end of his literary career, he had produced more than sixty books.
James Langston Hughes was born February 1, 1902, in Joplin, Missouri. His parents divorced when he was a small child, and his father moved to Mexico. He was raised by his grandmother until he was thirteen, when he moved to Lincoln, Illinois, to live with his mother and her husband, eventually settling in Cleveland, Ohio. It was in Lincoln, Illinois, that Hughes began writing poetry. Hughes began writing in high school, and even at this early age was developing the voice that made him famous. After graduating from high school, Hughes
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