Wise Words Wednesday – Langston Hughes

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wise-words-wednesday

Langston Hughes was a man of few minced words. He was well known in the Harlem Renaissance for speaking his mind. This poem he wrote in 1935 is no exception. They say what is old is new again. I’ll let you make the determination:

Let America Be America Again

Langston Hughes, 19021967

Let America be America again.
Let it be the dream it used to be.
Let it be the pioneer on the plain
Seeking a home where he himself is free.

(America never was America to me.)

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.

(It never was America to me.)

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.

(There’s never been equality for me,
Nor freedom in this “homeland of the free.”)

Say, who are you that mumbles in the dark? 
And who are you that draws your veil across the stars?

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.

I am the young man, full of strength and hope,
Tangled in that ancient endless chain
Of profit, power, gain, of grab the land!
Of grab the gold! Of grab the ways of satisfying need!
Of work the men! Of take the pay!
Of owning everything for one’s own greed!

I am the farmer, bondsman to the soil.
I am the worker sold to the machine.
I am the Negro, servant to you all.
I am the people, humble, hungry, mean—
Hungry yet today despite the dream.
Beaten yet today—O, Pioneers!
I am the man who never got ahead,
The poorest worker bartered through the years.

Yet I’m the one who dreamt our basic dream
In the Old World while still a serf of kings,
Who dreamt a dream so strong, so brave, so true,
That even yet its mighty daring sings
In every brick and stone, in every furrow turned
That’s made America the land it has become.
O, I’m the man who sailed those early seas
In search of what I meant to be my home—
For I’m the one who left dark Ireland’s shore,
And Poland’s plain, and England’s grassy lea,
And torn from Black Africa’s strand I came
To build a “homeland of the free.”

The free?

Who said the free?  Not me?
Surely not me?  The millions on relief today?
The millions shot down when we strike?
The millions who have nothing for our pay?
For all the dreams we’ve dreamed
And all the songs we’ve sung
And all the hopes we’ve held
And all the flags we’ve hung,
The millions who have nothing for our pay—
Except the dream that’s almost dead today.

O, let America be America again—
The land that never has been yet—
And yet must be—the land where every man is free.
The land that’s mine—the poor man’s, Indian’s, Negro’s, ME—
Who made America,
Whose sweat and blood, whose faith and pain,
Whose hand at the foundry, whose plow in the rain,
Must bring back our mighty dream again.

Sure, call me any ugly name you choose—
The steel of freedom does not stain.
From those who live like leeches on the people’s lives,
We must take back our land again,
America!

O, yes,
I say it plain,
America never was America to me,
And yet I swear this oath—
America will be!

Out of the rack and ruin of our gangster death,
The rape and rot of graft, and stealth, and lies,
We, the people, must redeem
The land, the mines, the plants, the rivers.
The mountains and the endless plain—
All, all the stretch of these great green states—
And make America again!

Black Authors I LOVE! Day 25

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Denis Waitley

Today’s featured author for my Black Authors I LOVE! series is Langston Hughes! I first fell in love with his poetry when I was in the eighth grade and read the prolific words What happens to a dream deferred? Does it dry up Like a raisin in the sun?… Or does it explode?”  I was hooked from then on. Mr. Hughes was a writer during the famed Harlem Renaissance era and worked with some of my other faves like Maya Angelou, James Baldwin and Zora Neale Hurston. His first novel was “Not Without Laughter” which touched on the injustice of blacks in America due to racism and socioeconomic disadvantages. Most of his works kept to this theme marking him as a very influential social activist.

Words Crush Wednesday #wcw – Langston Hughes

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wcw - Langston1

This week’s Word’s Crush Wednesday #wcw is from one of my favorite poets, Langston Hughes.

wcw - Langston

Thanks to all of last week’s participants listed below. Remember to tag your posts #wcw and ping back to this post.

Tucked Into a Corner

Homemade Naturally

Good Woman

A Year with a Mad Grad Student

Eat, Play, Clove.

The Survival Library

Beer Drinker Only

Want to join the fun? Click the pic below to see how it’s done:

#wcw

Words Crush Wednesday #WCW – Langston Hughes

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This week’s Word Crush Wednesday quote is from Langston Hughes. It was relevant in his time and again in ours…

langston1

Want to join the fun? Just click the pic below to see how it’s done:

#wcw

Thanks to last week’s participants:

https://eatplayclove.wordpress.com/2015/01/14/word-crush-wednesday-cesar-chavez-edition/

https://kimaedwards.wordpress.com/2015/01/15/words-crush-wednesday/