photo of Langston HughesPhoto Credit: WikiMedia Commons

Quotes by Langston Hughes

Welcome to our collection of quotes (with shareable picture quotes) by Langston Hughes. We hope you enjoy pondering them and that you will share them widely.

Wikipedia Summary for Langston Hughes

James Mercer Langston Hughes (February 1, 1901 – May 22, 1967) was an American poet, social activist, novelist, playwright, and columnist from Joplin, Missouri. One of the earliest innovators of the literary art form called jazz poetry, Hughes is best known as a leader of the Harlem Renaissance. He famously wrote about the period that "the Negro was in vogue", which was later paraphrased as "when Harlem was in vogue."Growing up in a series of Midwestern towns, Hughes became a prolific writer at an early age.

He moved to New York City as a young man, where he made his career. He graduated from high school in Cleveland, Ohio and soon began studies at Columbia University in New York City. Although he dropped out, he gained notice from New York publishers, first in The Crisis magazine, and then from book publishers and became known in the creative community in Harlem. He eventually graduated from Lincoln University. In addition to poetry, Hughes wrote plays, and short stories. He also published several non-fiction works. From 1942 to 1962, as the civil rights movement was gaining traction, he wrote an in-depth weekly column in a leading black newspaper, The Chicago Defender.

Quote: I must never write when I do not want to write. by author Langston Hughes overlaid on photo of photo of author Langston Hughes with quote

I must never write when I do not want to write.


Quote: A lion in a zoo,   Shut up in a cage,   Lives a life   Of smothered rage. by author Langston Hughes overlaid on photo of photo of author Langston Hughes with quote

A lion in a zoo, Shut up in a cage, Lives a life Of smothered rage.


Quote: A community of hands to help-   Thus the dream becomes not one man's dream alone,   But a community dream. by author Langston Hughes overlaid on photo of photo of author Langston Hughes with quote

A community of hands to help- Thus the dream becomes not one man's dream alone, But a community dream.


Quote: When it is not on the side of civil rights, then the law is not right, it is white. by author Langston Hughes overlaid on photo of photo of author Langston Hughes with quote

When it is not on the side of civil rights, then the law is not right, it is white.


Quote: Even the 'Negro' shows like 'Amos and Andy' and 'Beulah' are written largely by white writers -- the better to preserve the stereotypes, I imagine. by author Langston Hughes overlaid on photo of photo of author Langston Hughes with quote

Even the 'Negro' shows like 'Amos and Andy' and 'Beulah' are written largely by white writers -- the better to preserve the stereotypes, I imagine.




Quote: What happens to a dream deferred? by author Langston Hughes overlaid on photo of photo of author Langston Hughes with quote

What happens to a dream deferred?

Longer Version/[Notes]:

What happens to a dream deferred? Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun? ... Or does it explode?


Quote: As long as what is is-and Georgia is Georgia-I will take Harlem for mine. At least, if trouble comes, I will have my own window to shoot from. by author Langston Hughes overlaid on photo of photo of author Langston Hughes with quote

As long as what is is-and Georgia is Georgia-I will take Harlem for mine. At least, if trouble comes, I will have my own window to shoot from.


Quote: I look at my own body 
 With eyes no longer blind- 
 And I see that my own hands can make 
 The world that's in my mind. by author Langston Hughes overlaid on photo of photo of author Langston Hughes with quote

I look at my own body
With eyes no longer blind-
And I see that my own hands can make
The world that's in my mind.


Quote: Misery is when you heard on the radio that the neighborhood you live in is a slum but you always thought it was home. by author Langston Hughes overlaid on photo of photo of author Langston Hughes with quote

Misery is when you heard on the radio that the neighborhood you live in is a slum but you always thought it was home.


Quote: Gather up In the arms of your love--Those who expect No love from above. by author Langston Hughes overlaid on photo of photo of author Langston Hughes with quote

Gather up In the arms of your love--Those who expect No love from above.


Quote: Out of love,
No regrets -
Though the goodness
Be wasted forever.
Out of love,
No regrets --
Though the return
Be never. by author Langston Hughes overlaid on photo of photo of author Langston Hughes with quote

Out of love,
No regrets -
Though the goodness
Be wasted forever.
Out of love,
No regrets --
Though the return
Be never.




Quote: A picture, to be an interesting picture, must be more than a picture, otherwise it is only a reproduction of an object, and not an object of value in itself. by author Langston Hughes overlaid on photo of photo of author Langston Hughes with quote

A picture, to be an interesting picture, must be more than a picture, otherwise it is only a reproduction of an object, and not an object of value in itself.


Quote: There is no color line in death. I swear to the lord I still can't see Why Democracy means Everybody but me. O, yes, I say it plain, America never was America to me, And yet I swear this oath -- America will be! I am the American heartbreak- The rock on which Freedom Stumped its toe. by author Langston Hughes overlaid on photo of Langston Hughes quote: There is no color line in death. I swear to the lord I still can't see Why Democracy means Everybody but me. O, yes, I say it plain, America never was America to me, And yet I swear this oath -- America will be! I am the American heartbreak- The rock on which Freedom Stumped its toe.- black text on quotes background

There is no color line in death. I swear to the lord I still can't see Why Democracy means Everybody but me. O, yes, I say it plain, America never was America to me, And yet I swear this oath -- America will be! I am the American heartbreak- The rock on which Freedom Stumped its toe.


Quote: Writing is like travelling. It's wonderful to go somewhere, but you get tired of staying. by author Langston Hughes overlaid on photo of photo of author Langston Hughes with quote

Writing is like travelling. It's wonderful to go somewhere, but you get tired of staying.


Quote: I got the Weary Blues And I can't be satisfied. by author Langston Hughes overlaid on photo of photo of author Langston Hughes with quote

I got the Weary Blues And I can't be satisfied.


Quote: I've been scared and battered. My hopes the wind done scattered. Snow has friz me, Sun has baked me, Looks like between 'em they done Tried to make me Stop laughin', stop lovin', stop livin' -- But I don't care! I'm still here! by author Langston Hughes overlaid on photo of photo of author Langston Hughes with quote

I've been scared and battered. My hopes the wind done scattered. Snow has friz me, Sun has baked me, Looks like between 'em they done Tried to make me Stop laughin', stop lovin', stop livin' -- But I don't care! I'm still here!


Quote: Humor is when the joke's on you but hits the other fellow first -- before it boomerangs. by author Langston Hughes overlaid on photo of photo of author Langston Hughes with quote

Humor is when the joke's on you but hits the other fellow first -- before it boomerangs.


Quote: A world I dream where black or white,
Whatever race you be,
Will share the bounties of the Earth
And every man is free. by author Langston Hughes overlaid on photo of photo of author Langston Hughes with quote

A world I dream where black or white,
Whatever race you be,
Will share the bounties of the Earth
And every man is free.


Quote: Friend, I am thinking about money -- which goes beyond race. If all the Negroes in the world had money, the color problem would be solved in the morning. by author Langston Hughes overlaid on photo of photo of author Langston Hughes with quote

Friend, I am thinking about money -- which goes beyond race. If all the Negroes in the world had money, the color problem would be solved in the morning.


Quote: Without going outside his race, and even among the better classes with their 'white' culture and conscious American manners, but still Negro enough to be different, there is sufficient matter to furnish a black artist with a lifetime of creative work. by author Langston Hughes overlaid on photo of photo of author Langston Hughes with quote

Without going outside his race, and even among the better classes with their 'white' culture and conscious American manners, but still Negro enough to be different, there is sufficient matter to furnish a black artist with a lifetime of creative work.


Quote: Politics can be the graveyard of the poet. And only poetry can be his resurrection. by author Langston Hughes overlaid on photo of photo of author Langston Hughes with quote

Politics can be the graveyard of the poet. And only poetry can be his resurrection.


Quote: Folks, I'm telling you, birthing is hard and dying is mean- so get yourself a little loving in between. by author Langston Hughes overlaid on photo of photo of author Langston Hughes with quote

Folks, I'm telling you, birthing is hard and dying is mean- so get yourself a little loving in between.




Quote: Peace We passed their graves: The dead men there, Winners or losers, Did not care. In the dark They could not see Who had gained The victory. by author Langston Hughes overlaid on photo of photo of author Langston Hughes with quote

Peace We passed their graves: The dead men there, Winners or losers, Did not care. In the dark They could not see Who had gained The victory.


Quote: I wish the rent Was heaven sent. by author Langston Hughes overlaid on photo of photo of author Langston Hughes with quote

I wish the rent Was heaven sent.


Quote: The rain plays a little sleep song on our roof at night And I love the rain. by author Langston Hughes overlaid on photo of photo of author Langston Hughes with quote

The rain plays a little sleep song on our roof at night And I love the rain.


Quote: Everybody should take each other as they are, white, black, Indians, Creole. Then there would be no prejudice, nations would get along. by author Langston Hughes overlaid on photo of photo of author Langston Hughes with quote

Everybody should take each other as they are, white, black, Indians, Creole. Then there would be no prejudice, nations would get along.


Quote: Summer was made to give you a taste of what hell is like. Winter was made for landladies to charge high rents and keep cold radiators and make a fortune off of poor tenants. by author Langston Hughes overlaid on photo of photo of author Langston Hughes with quote

Summer was made to give you a taste of what hell is like. Winter was made for landladies to charge high rents and keep cold radiators and make a fortune off of poor tenants.


Quote: Don't come giving me, who's old enough to die and too near blind to create anything any more anyhow, a great big banquet that you eat up in honor of your own stomachs as much as in honor of me- who's toothless and can't eat. by author Langston Hughes overlaid on photo of photo of author Langston Hughes with quote

Don't come giving me, who's old enough to die and too near blind to create anything any more anyhow, a great big banquet that you eat up in honor of your own stomachs as much as in honor of me- who's toothless and can't eat.


Quote: Life is a system of half-truths and lies, Opportunistic, convenient evasion. by author Langston Hughes overlaid on photo of photo of author Langston Hughes with quote

Life is a system of half-truths and lies, Opportunistic, convenient evasion.




Quote: 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. by author Langston Hughes overlaid on photo of photo of author Langston Hughes with quote

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.


Quote: I dream a world... where wretchedness will hang its head and joy, like a pearl, attends the needs of all mankind. Of such I dream, my world! by author Langston Hughes overlaid on photo of photo of author Langston Hughes with quote

I dream a world... where wretchedness will hang its head and joy, like a pearl, attends the needs of all mankind. Of such I dream, my world!

Longer Version/[Notes]:

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!


Quote: Well, when Christ comes back this time, I hope He comes back mad His own self. I hope He drives the Jim Crowers out of their high places, every living last one of them from Washington to Texas. by author Langston Hughes overlaid on photo of photo of author Langston Hughes with quote

Well, when Christ comes back this time, I hope He comes back mad His own self. I hope He drives the Jim Crowers out of their high places, every living last one of them from Washington to Texas.


Quote: Consider me,
Descended also
From the
Mystery. by author Langston Hughes overlaid on photo of photo of author Langston Hughes with quote

Consider me,
Descended also
From the
Mystery.


Quote: A dog gets lonesome just like a human. He wants to associate with other dogs, but when they take him out, the poor dog is on a leash and cannot run around. by author Langston Hughes overlaid on photo of photo of author Langston Hughes with quote

A dog gets lonesome just like a human. He wants to associate with other dogs, but when they take him out, the poor dog is on a leash and cannot run around.


Quote: But there are certain very practical things American Negro writers can do. And must do. There's a song that says, the time ain't long. That song is right. Something has got to change in America-and change soon. We must help that change to come. by author Langston Hughes overlaid on photo of photo of author Langston Hughes with quote

But there are certain very practical things American Negro writers can do. And must do. There's a song that says, the time ain't long. That song is right. Something has got to change in America-and change soon. We must help that change to come.


Quote: I do not want no pretty woman. First thing you know, you fall in love with her-then you got to kill somebody about her. She'll make you so jealous, you'll bust! by author Langston Hughes overlaid on photo of photo of author Langston Hughes with quote

I do not want no pretty woman. First thing you know, you fall in love with her-then you got to kill somebody about her. She'll make you so jealous, you'll bust!


Quote: Now I do not understand 
Why God don't protect a man
From police brutality.
Being poor and black,
I've no weapon to strike back -- 
So who but the Lord
Can protect me? by author Langston Hughes overlaid on photo of photo of author Langston Hughes with quote

Now I do not understand
Why God don't protect a man
From police brutality.
Being poor and black,
I've no weapon to strike back --
So who but the Lord
Can protect me?




Quote: I am the American heartbreak- The rock on which Freedom Stumped its toe. by author Langston Hughes overlaid on photo of photo of author Langston Hughes with quote

I am the American heartbreak- The rock on which Freedom Stumped its toe.


Quote: Certainly there is, for the American Negro artist who can escape the restrictions the more advanced among his own group would put upon him, a great field of unused material ready for his art. by author Langston Hughes overlaid on photo of photo of author Langston Hughes with quote

Certainly there is, for the American Negro artist who can escape the restrictions the more advanced among his own group would put upon him, a great field of unused material ready for his art.


Quote: Jazz, to me, is one of the inherent expressions of Negro life in America: the eternal tom-tom beating in the Negro soul -- the tom-tom of revolt against weariness in a white world, a world of subway trains, and work, work, work; the tom-tom of joy and laughter, and pain swallowed in a smile. by author Langston Hughes overlaid on photo of Langston Hughes quote: Jazz, to me, is one of the inherent expressions of Negro life in America: the eternal tom-tom beating in the Negro soul -- the tom-tom of revolt against weariness in a white world, a world of subway trains, and work, work, work; the tom-tom of joy and laughter, and pain swallowed in a smile.- black text on quotes background

Jazz, to me, is one of the inherent expressions of Negro life in America: the eternal tom-tom beating in the Negro soul -- the tom-tom of revolt against weariness in a white world, a world of subway trains, and work, work, work; the tom-tom of joy and laughter, and pain swallowed in a smile.


Quote: My boss is white, said Simple. 
Most bosses are, I said. by author Langston Hughes overlaid on photo of photo of author Langston Hughes with quote

My boss is white, said Simple.
Most bosses are, I said.


Quote: That is no way to get Justice. 
That is the way the Allies got it -- breaking up Germany, breaking up Hiroshima, and everything in sight. But these white folks are more scared of Negroes in the U.S.A. than they ever was of Hitler. by author Langston Hughes overlaid on photo of photo of author Langston Hughes with quote

That is no way to get Justice.
That is the way the Allies got it -- breaking up Germany, breaking up Hiroshima, and everything in sight. But these white folks are more scared of Negroes in the U.S.A. than they ever was of Hitler.


Quote: But the way you talk, fun is first and foremost. You imply that there is no fun to be had around white folks. 
I never had none, said Simple. by author Langston Hughes overlaid on photo of photo of author Langston Hughes with quote

But the way you talk, fun is first and foremost. You imply that there is no fun to be had around white folks.
I never had none, said Simple.


Quote: Yet the ivory gods, And the ebony gods, And the gods of diamond-jade, Are only silly puppet gods That people themselves Have made. by author Langston Hughes overlaid on photo of photo of author Langston Hughes with quote

Yet the ivory gods, And the ebony gods, And the gods of diamond-jade, Are only silly puppet gods That people themselves Have made.


Quote: Cheap little rhymes
A cheap little tune
Are sometimes as dangerous
As a sliver of the moon. by author Langston Hughes overlaid on photo of photo of author Langston Hughes with quote

Cheap little rhymes
A cheap little tune
Are sometimes as dangerous
As a sliver of the moon.


Quote: For poems are like rainbows; they escape you quickly. by author Langston Hughes overlaid on photo of photo of author Langston Hughes with quote

For poems are like rainbows; they escape you quickly.


Quote: The first of the month falls every month, too, North or South. And them white folks who sends bills never forgets to send them-the phone bill, the furniture bill, the water bill, the gas bill, insurance, house rent. by author Langston Hughes overlaid on photo of photo of author Langston Hughes with quote

The first of the month falls every month, too, North or South. And them white folks who sends bills never forgets to send them-the phone bill, the furniture bill, the water bill, the gas bill, insurance, house rent.


Quote: 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! by author Langston Hughes overlaid on photo of Langston Hughes quote: 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 text on quotes background

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!


Quote: Pleasured equally
In seeking as in finding,
Each detail minding,
Old Walt went seeking
And finding. by author Langston Hughes overlaid on photo of photo of author Langston Hughes with quote

Pleasured equally
In seeking as in finding,
Each detail minding,
Old Walt went seeking
And finding.


Quote: The sea is a desert of waves,
A wilderness of water. by author Langston Hughes overlaid on photo of photo of author Langston Hughes with quote

The sea is a desert of waves,
A wilderness of water.




Quote: Let America be America, where equality is in the air we breathe. by author Langston Hughes overlaid on photo of photo of author Langston Hughes with quote

Let America be America, where equality is in the air we breathe.


Quote: Melting pot Harlem-Harlem of honey and chocolate and caramel and rum and vinegar and lemon and lime and gall. Dusky dream Harlem rumbling into a nightmare tunnel where the subway from the Bronx keeps right on downtown. by author Langston Hughes overlaid on photo of photo of author Langston Hughes with quote

Melting pot Harlem-Harlem of honey and chocolate and caramel and rum and vinegar and lemon and lime and gall. Dusky dream Harlem rumbling into a nightmare tunnel where the subway from the Bronx keeps right on downtown.


Quote: Good evening, daddy! Ain't you heard The boogie-woogie rumble Of a dream deferred? Trilling the treble And twining the bass Into midnight ruffles Of cat-gut lace. by author Langston Hughes overlaid on photo of photo of author Langston Hughes with quote

Good evening, daddy! Ain't you heard The boogie-woogie rumble Of a dream deferred? Trilling the treble And twining the bass Into midnight ruffles Of cat-gut lace.




Quote: Lawrence has a wonderful hill in it, with a university on top and the first time I ran away from home, I ran up the hill and looked across the world: Kansas wheat fields and the Kaw River, and I wanted to go some place, too. I got a whipping for it. by author Langston Hughes overlaid on photo of photo of author Langston Hughes with quote

Lawrence has a wonderful hill in it, with a university on top and the first time I ran away from home, I ran up the hill and looked across the world: Kansas wheat fields and the Kaw River, and I wanted to go some place, too. I got a whipping for it.


Quote: So since I'm still here livin',
I guess I will live on.
I could've died for love -- 
But for livin' I was born. by author Langston Hughes overlaid on photo of photo of author Langston Hughes with quote

So since I'm still here livin',
I guess I will live on.
I could've died for love --
But for livin' I was born.


Quote: Well, I like to eat, sleep, drink, and be in love.
I like to work, read, learn, and understand life. by author Langston Hughes overlaid on photo of photo of author Langston Hughes with quote

Well, I like to eat, sleep, drink, and be in love.
I like to work, read, learn, and understand life.


Quote: I will not take but for an answer. by author Langston Hughes overlaid on photo of photo of author Langston Hughes with quote

I will not take but for an answer.


Quote: I stuck my head out the window this morning and spring kissed me bang in the face. by author Langston Hughes overlaid on photo of photo of author Langston Hughes with quote

I stuck my head out the window this morning and spring kissed me bang in the face.


Quote: In all my life, I have never been free. I have never been able to do anything with freedom, except in the field of my writing. by author Langston Hughes overlaid on photo of photo of author Langston Hughes with quote

In all my life, I have never been free. I have never been able to do anything with freedom, except in the field of my writing.


Quote: One of the great needs of Negro children is to have books about themselves and their lives that can help them be proud. by author Langston Hughes overlaid on photo of photo of author Langston Hughes with quote

One of the great needs of Negro children is to have books about themselves and their lives that can help them be proud.


Quote: Hold fast to dreams For when dreams go Life is a barren field Frozen with snow. by author Langston Hughes overlaid on photo of photo of author Langston Hughes with quote

Hold fast to dreams For when dreams go Life is a barren field Frozen with snow.

Longer Version/[Notes]:

Hold fast to dreams
for if dreams die
life is a broken-winged bird
that can not fly.

Hold fast to dreams
for when dreams go
life is a barren field
frozen with snow.


Quote: To my mind, it is the duty of the younger Negro artist, if he accepts any duties at all from outsiders, to change through the force of his art that old whispering 'I want to be white,' hidden in the aspirations of his people, to 'Why should I want to be white? I am a Negro -- and beautiful!' by author Langston Hughes overlaid on photo of Langston Hughes quote: To my mind, it is the duty of the younger Negro artist, if he accepts any duties at all from outsiders, to change through the force of his art that old whispering 'I want to be white,' hidden in the aspirations of his people, to 'Why should I want to be white? I am a Negro -- and beautiful!'- black text on quotes background

To my mind, it is the duty of the younger Negro artist, if he accepts any duties at all from outsiders, to change through the force of his art that old whispering 'I want to be white,' hidden in the aspirations of his people, to 'Why should I want to be white? I am a Negro -- and beautiful!'


Quote: My writing has been largely concerned with the depicting of Negro life in America. by author Langston Hughes overlaid on photo of photo of author Langston Hughes with quote

My writing has been largely concerned with the depicting of Negro life in America.


Quote: I swear to the Lord, I still can't see, why Democracy means, everybody but me. by author Langston Hughes overlaid on photo of photo of author Langston Hughes with quote

I swear to the Lord, I still can't see, why Democracy means, everybody but me.


Quote: My soul has grown deep like the rivers. by author Langston Hughes overlaid on photo of photo of author Langston Hughes with quote

My soul has grown deep like the rivers.




Quote: It's such a Bore Being always Poor. by author Langston Hughes overlaid on photo of photo of author Langston Hughes with quote

It's such a Bore Being always Poor.


Quote: When peoples care for you and cry for you, they can straighten out your soul. by author Langston Hughes overlaid on photo of photo of author Langston Hughes with quote

When peoples care for you and cry for you, they can straighten out your soul.


Quote: We Negro writers, just by being black, have been on the blacklist all our lives. Censorship for us begins at the color line. by author Langston Hughes overlaid on photo of photo of author Langston Hughes with quote

We Negro writers, just by being black, have been on the blacklist all our lives. Censorship for us begins at the color line.


Popular Curated Collections

Nature

Beauty

Cute

Be Positive

Flower

Self-Discovery

bell-hooks

Gratitude

Hope

Productivity

Creativity

 


Thank YOU for visiting -- we wish you a perfect day!