Friday, November 6, 2009

I Dream a World, a poem by Langston Hughes.

Post 363 - Born in Joplin, Missouri, in 1902, James Langston Hughes was the great-great-grandson of Charles Henry Langston who was the brother of John Mercer Langston, the first Black American to be elected to public office. He attended Central High School in Cleveland, and began writing poetry in the eighth grade. He entered Columbia University in the fall of 1921 but stayed in school there for only a year. He later received a scholarship to Lincoln University, in Pennsylvania, where he received his B.A. degree in 1929. In 1943, he was awarded an honorary Lit.D by his alma mater; a Guggenheim Fellowship followed in 1935 and a Rosenwald Fellowship in 1940.

His father discouraged him from pursuing writing as a career, in favour of something 'more practical.' However, Hughes turned out to be a prolific writer. In the forty-odd years between his first book and his death, he devoted his life to writing and lecturing. He wrote sixteen books of poems, two novels, three collections of short stories, four volumes of "editorial" and "documentary" fiction, twenty plays, children's poetry, musicals and operas, three autobiographies, a dozen radio and television scripts, and dozens of magazine articles. In addition, he edited seven anthologies.

Langston Hughes was, in his later years, deemed the "Poet Laureate of the Negro Race," a title he encouraged. He died of cancer in 1967. After he died, his residence at 20 East 127th Street in Harlem was given landmark status by the New York City Preservation Commission and his block of East 127th Street was renamed "Langston Hughes Place." He once said that, "When people care for you and cry for you, they can straighten out your soul."

I Dream a World by Langton Hughes.

I dream a world where man
No other man will scorn,
Where love will bless the earth
And peace its paths adorn.
I dream a world where all
Will know sweet freedom's way,
Where greed no longer saps the soul
Nor avarice blights our day.
A world I dream where black or white,
Whatever race you be,
Will share the bounties of the earth
And every man is free,
Where wretchedness will hang its head
And joy, like a pearl,
Attends the needs of all mankind--
Of such I dream, my world!

5 comments:

Bueller said...

Oh such a world indeed. Certainly isn't Hollywood!

john cotter said...

"Hunter S. Thomson once said to me, ‘The movie business is a cruel and shallow money trench where thieves and pimps run free and good men die like dogs.' And then he added, 'There's also a negative side.'"
- Bruce Willis in What Just Happened

micailaa said...

great poem, try reading in while louis armstrongs what a wonderful world on in the background. i almost cried :)

Raquel Hernan said...

Really beautiful!! Thanks for sharing! I just saw the movie That's what I am and I was looking for this poem and didn't know who wrote it, but I found your post... Thanks again!

Unknown said...

How many years was this poem written before Martin Luther King's 'I have a dream' speech? I'm sure MLK must have acknowledged this source of inspiration.