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What were Langston Hughes' contributions to society?

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Quick Answer

Langston Hughes contributed greatly to society with his poetry, books and plays. Hughes was also a columnist for the Chicago Defender. Many consider Hughes to have been an important writer during the Harlem Renaissance in the 1920s.

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Full Answer

Through his writings, Hughes condemned racism and often used children's books to teach equality in addition to writing about it in his newspaper column, books and poetry. His creative talents allowed him to celebrate, through words, African American spirituality and culture.

Hughes is famous for his poem "The Negro Speaks of Rivers." This highly acclaimed poem was first published in "The Crisis" magazine. He wrote the poem while in Mexico with his father, shortly after graduating high school. Hughes became a part of the Harlem Renaissance movement when he returned to the United States and enrolled in Columbia University. Hughes eventually dropped out of Columbia and began working jobs that took him around the world, mostly on ships, where he was able to cultivate his poetry and creative writing skills.

After his death in 1967, Hughes's works enjoyed considerable popularity, and as of 2014, some are still read in colleges and high schools. Some of his titles include "Laughing to Keep from Crying," "The Return of Simple" and the poem "The Weary Blues."

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