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Quotes from Langston Hughes  


  • The stars went out and so did the moon.
    The singer stopped playing and went to bed
    While the Weary Blues echoed through his head.
    He slept like a rock or a man that's dead.
    • "The Weary Blues," from The Weary Blues (1926)
  • Way Down South in Dixie
    (Break the heart of me)
    They hung my black young lover
    To a cross roads tree.
    • "Song for a Dark Girl" (l. 1-4), from Fine Clothes to the Jew (1927)
  • Love is a naked shadow
    On a gnarled and naked tree.
    • Song for a Dark Girl (l. 11-12), from Fine Clothes to the Jew (1927)
  • While over Alabama earth
    These words are gently spoken:
    Serve — and hate will die unborn.
    Love — and chains are broken.
    • "Alabama Earth (at Booker Washington's grave)," from the anthology Golden Slippers: An Anthology of Negro Poetry for Young Readers (1941), ed. Arna Bontemps
  • Hold fast to dreams
    For if dreams die
    Life is a broken-winged bird
    That cannot fly.
    • "Dreams," from the anthology Golden Slippers: An Anthology of Negro Poetry for Young Readers, ed. Arna Bontemps (1941)
  • I was so sick last night I
    Didn't hardly know my mind.
    So sick last night I
    Didn't know my mind.
    I drunk some bad licker that
    Almost made me blind.
    • "Morning After," (l. 1-6), from Shakespeare in Harlem (1942)
  • I swear to the Lord
    I still can't see
    Why Democracy means
    Everybody but me.
    • "The Black Man Speaks," from Jim Crow's Last Stand (1943)
  • I, too, sing America.
    I am the darker brother.

    They send me to eat in the kitchen
    When company comes,
    But I laugh,
    And eat well,
    And grow strong.
    • "I, Too, Sing America," in the magazine Survey Graphic (March 1925); reprinted in Selected Poems (1959)
  • They'll see how beautiful I am
    And be ashamed —
    I, too, am America.
    • "I, Too, Sing America," in the magazine Survey Graphic (March 1925); reprinted in Selected Poems (1959)
  • The night is beautiful,
    So are the faces of my people.
    • "My People," in the magazine Poems in Crisis (October 1923); reprinted in The Weary Blues (1926)
  • I've known rivers:
    I've known rivers ancient as the world and older than the
    flow of human blood in human veins.
    My soul has grown deep like the rivers.
    • "The Negro Speaks of Rivers," from The Weary Blues (1926)
  • Let America be America again.
    Let it be the dream it used to be.
  • Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed —
    Let it be that great strong land of love
    Where never kings connive nor tyrants scheme
    That any man be crushed by one above.
  • O, let my land be a land where Liberty
    Is crowned with no false patriotic wreath,
    But opportunity is real, and life is free,
    Equality is in the air we breathe.
  • I am the poor white, fooled and pushed apart,
    I am the Negro bearing slavery's scars.
    I am the red man driven from the land,
    I am the immigrant clutching the hope I seek —
    And finding only the same old stupid plan
    Of dog eat dog, of mighty crush the weak.



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