He was called Shakespeare in Harlem, The blues poet, the Simple man on the street, The voice of Black Harlem (Tolson 1) Possessing qualities unlike any other, Langston Hughes believed that there was no difference between the common experiences of Black America and his own personal experiences. His life and work were enormously important in shaping the artistic contributions of the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920 s (Tolson 1) Hughes wrote vividly about the life, luxury, and hardships of the poor black working class. Langston Hughes poetry proved to be a primary influence in shaping of the Harlem Renaissance, for his poetry was a personal account attempted to raise the awareness and consciousness of America during this time period. The Negro speaks of Rivers not only reflects Hughes personal encounter with the crossing of the Mississippi river, however, utilizes metaphors to reflect African history. Hughes did not specifically reference any one particular African-American, nor did he imply that he is the speaker. The term Negro in the title simply refers to the African-American population as a whole and their collective experiences from Africa to America (M.R.L) Hughes indirectly uses his personal experience to relate the transition of the African slaves from Africa to America: I bathed in the Euphrates when dawns were young. I built my hut near the Congo and it lulled me to sleep. I looked upon the Nile and raised the pyramid above it. I heard the singing of the Mississippi when Abe Lincoln Went down to New Orleans, and Ive seen its muddy bosom Turn all golden in sunset (Hughes 55). Hughes begins in Africa. He bathes in the Euphrates River, then builds his house on the Congo River, and looks upon the Nile River, the three most prominent rivers in Africa. The transition from Africa to America begins when Hughes hears the singing of the Mississippi, and follows it…
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