Hannibal Courier - Post - Hannibal, MO
by Antonio Prokup
Langston Hughes
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By Antonio Prokup
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April 8, 2013 11:33 a.m.

Langston Hughes reached a milestone in his life. He received a BA degree from Lincoln University in Pennsylvania. He worked toward this goal for several years. His determination and hard work enabled him to reach success.
James Langston Hughes was born in Joplin, MO, to an abolitionist family. His grandfather, James Mercer, was the first black American to be elected to a government office in 1855. Langston attended school in Cleveland, Ohio, and started writing poetry in eighth grade. His father, thinking poetry writing would not provide a good living, insisted that he pursue engineering. After one semester Langston quit school and continued writing.
This decision was a blessing for him as well as those of us who appreciate his talent. Many might have read his essay entitled “The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain” written in 1926. In this essay he encourages young black artists to strive to be the best black artists they can be. Take pride in your work and your skin color. In this essay he said, “We younger Negro artists now intend to express our individual dark-skinned selves without fear or shame. If white people are pleased we are glad. If they aren’t, it doesn’t matter. We know we are beautiful. And ugly too… If colored people are pleased we are glad. If they are not, their displeasure doesn’t matter either. We build our temples for tomorrow, as strong as we know how and we stand on the top of the mountain, free within ourselves.”

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