Saturday, February 10, 2007

Black History Month

In honor of Black History Month I wanted to post a recent poem that I came accross by an African American poet and writer named Langston Hughs (1902-1967). Upon reading a bit more about this talented artist I learned that he was one of the most influention writers of the Harlem Renaissance, which was an African American artistic movement that took place in the 1920's. In the linked biography there is a stirring quote that Hughs published in a 1926 essay in the 'Nation' entitled "The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain." Although I don't know much about the Harlem Renaissance, I would like to think that this embodies it's spirit.

"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."

If you are like me and have not learned anything about Langston Hughs, I fully encourage you to read more about about him. He is a fascinating and inspiring figure in American History and even if you don't like poetry his is well worth reading.

Dream Variations

To fling my arms wide
In some place of the sun,
To whirl and to dance
Till the white day is done.
Then rest at cool evening
Beneath a tall tree
While night comes on gently,
Dark like me-
That is my dream!

To fling my arms wide
In the face of the sun,
Dance! Whirl! Whirl!
Till the quick day is done.
Rest at pale evening...
A tall, slim tree...
Night coming tenderly
Black like me.

Langston Hughes


Blogger scarlet panda said...

Langston Hughs is pretty cool. I did a report on him in 4th grade--probably for Black History Month.

12:02 PM  

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