80 Langston Hughes Quotes From The Author Of 'I, Too, Sing America'

Langston Hughes quotes are usually very inspirational.
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Langston Hughes was an eminent American social activist, playwright, and poet.

Born in 1901, Hughes is credited with being the innovator of jazz poetry. He is also considered the leader of the Harlem Renaissance.

Ever since he was young Hughes was fascinated with writing and became an expert in a small amount of time. His work was soon appreciated and gained more popularity when he became a columnist in 'The Chicago Defender' which was a leading black newspaper during the civil rights movement.

If you liked our Langston Hughes quotes go check out quotes for [W.H. Auden]  and [Kerouac].

Langston Hughes Famous Quotes

These are the best and the most famous of Langston Hughes quotes about poetry, music, and more.

1. "Everything there is but lovin' leaves a rust on your old soul."

- Langston Hughes, 'Not Without Laughter'.

2. "I live in Harlem, New York City. I am unmarried. I like 'Tristan,' goat's milk, short novels, lyric poems, heat, simple folk...I dislike 'Aida,' parsnips, long novels, narrative poems, cold, pretentious folk."

- Langston Hughes, 'Twentieth Century Authors: A Biographical Dictionary Of Modern Literature, Volumes 1-2'.

3. "Humor is laughing at what you haven't got when you ought to have it."

- Langston Hughes, 'The Collected Works Of Langston Hughes: Essays On Art, Race, Politics, And World Affairs'.

4. "I did not believe political directives could be successfully applied to creative writing … not to poetry or fiction."

- Langston Hughes, 'I Wonder As I Wander: An Autobiographical Journey'.

5. "Good-morning, Revolution:

You're the very best friend

I ever had.

We gonna pal around together from now on."

- Langston Hughes, 'Good Morning Revolution'.

6. "The ivory gods,

And the ebony gods,

And the gods of diamond and jade,

Sit silently on their temple shelves

While the people

Are afraid."

- Langston Hughes, 'Gods'.

7. "Looks like what drives me crazy

Don't have no effect on you -

But I'm gonna keep on at it

Till it drives you crazy, too."

- Langston Hughes, 'Evil'.

8. "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."

- Langston Hughes, 'The Collected Works Of Langston Hughes: Essays On Art, Race, Politics, And World Affairs'.

9. "An artist must be free to choose what he does, certainly, but he must also never be afraid to do what he might choose."

- Langston Hughes.

10. "The rain plays a little sleep song on our roof at night

And I love the rain."

- Langston Hughes, 'April Rain Song'.

11. "The only way to get a thing done is to start to do it, then keep on doing it, and finally you'll finish it."

- Langston Hughes, 'The Big Sea'.

12. "Hard as I try, daddy-o, I really do not like concert singers. They are always singing in some foreign language."

- Langston Hughes, 'The Early Simple Stories'.

13. "I felt very bad in Washington. . . I didn't like my job, and I didn't know what was going to happen to me...so I wrote a great many poems."

- Langston Hughes, 'The Big Sea'.

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

- Langston Hughes, 'Montage Of A Dream Deferred'.

15. "If I thought thoughts in bed, Them thoughts would bust my head - So I don't dare start thinking in the morning."

- Langston Hughes, 'Blues At Dawn'.

Langston Hughes Quotes About America And Race

Langston Hughes quotes about the society show the real truth.

Some of the best works of the poet have been on race, racism, and American identity. Here are a few Langston Hughes quotes that reflect his viewpoint as well as quotes from black leaders.

16. "One of the great difficulties about being a member of a minority race is that so many kindhearted, well-meaning bores gather around to help."

- Langston Hughes, 'Who’s Passing For Who?'

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

- Langston Hughes, 'The Black Man Speaks'.

18. "That Justice is a blind goddess

Is a thing to which we black are wise:

Her bandage hides two festering sores

That once perhaps were eyes."

- Langston Hughes, 'Justice'.

19. "I will not take 'but' for an answer...[black people] have been looking at democracy's 'but' too long."

- Langston Hughes, 'The Early Simple Stories'.

20. "America never was America to me,

And yet I swear this oath -

America will be!"

- Langston Hughes, 'Let America Be America Again'.

21. "O, let my land be a land where Liberty

Is crowned with no false patriotic wreath,

But opportunity is real, and life is free."

- Langston Hughes, 'Let America Be America Again'.

22. "It has seemed to me that most people are generally good, in every race and in every country where I have been."

- Langston Hughes, 'The Collected Works Of Langston Hughes'.

23. "I am the American heartbreak -

The rock on which Freedom

Stumped its toe."

- Langston Hughes, 'American Heartbreak'.

24. "Meek, humble, and kind:

Beware the day

They change their minds!"

- Langston Hughes, 'Warning'.

25. "If white people are pleased, we are glad. If they are not, it doesn't matter. We know we are beautiful. And ugly too."

- Langston Hughes.

26. "Americans of good-will...the good-hearted souls who themselves wouldn't lynch anyone, must begin to realize that they have to be more than passively good-hearted, more than church goingly Christian, and much more than word-of-mouth in the liberalism."

- Langston Hughes, 'Langston Hughes And The Chicago Defender'.

27. "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."

- Langston Hughes, 'Let America Be America Again'.

28. "Just one drop of black blood makes a colored man. One drop...Black is powerful."

- Langston Hughes, 'Simple Takes A Wife'.

29. "If the government can set aside some spot for a elk to be a elk without being bothered, or a buffalo to be a buffalo without being shot down."

- Langston Hughes, 'The Best Of Simple'.

30. "I, too, sing America. I am the darker brother. They send me to eat in the kitchen When company comes, But I laugh, And eat well, And grow strong. "

- Langston Hughes, 'I, Too'.

31. "Let America be America again. Let it be the dream it used to be."

- Langston Hughes, 'Let America Be America Again'.

32. "When poems stop talking about the moon and begin to mention poverty, trade unions, color, color lines and colonies, somebody tells the police."

- Langston Hughes, 'Essays On Art, Race, Politics, And World Affairs'.

33. "A world I dream where black or white, whatever race you be, will share the bounties of the earth and every man is free."

- Langston Hughes, 'I Dream A World'.

34. "Sometimes I wish the public were equally aware of the men of our race in the cultural fields. You, for instance, have you ever bought a book by a Negro writer?"

- Langston Hughes, 'The Early Simple Stories'.

35. "These feet have walked ten thousand miles working for white folks and another ten thousand keeping up with colored."

- Langston Hughes, 'The Early Simple Stories'.

Langston Hughes Quotes About Life

The poet had a wonderful view of life. These Langston Hughes quotes below will tell you all about it.

36. "The past has been a mint

Of blood and sorrow.

That must not be

True of tomorrow."

- Langston Hughes, 'History'.

37. "Though you may hear me holler,

And you may see me cry -

I'll be dogged, sweet baby,

If you gonna see me die."

- Langston Hughes, 'Life Is Fine'.

38. "I play it cool

And dig all jive

That’s the reason

I stay alive.

My motto,

As I live and learn, is:

Dig And Be Dug

In Return."

- Langston Hughes, 'Motto'.

39. "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."

- Langston Hughes, 'Peace'.

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

- Langston Hughes, 'Theme For English B'.

41. "When a man starts to build a world,

He starts first with himself

And the faith that is in his heart."

- Langston Hughes, 'Freedom's Plow'.

42. "Life is for the living.

Death is for the dead.

Let life be like music.

And death a note unsaid."

- Langston Hughes, 'Note In Music'.

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

- Langston Hughes, 'The Early Simple Stories'.

44. "I have discovered in life that there are ways of getting almost anywhere you want to go, if you really want to go."

- Langston Hughes, 'I Wonder As I Wander: An Autobiographical Journey'.

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

- Langston Hughes, 'Advice'.

46. "I tire so of hearing people say,

Let things take their course.

Tomorrow is another day.

I do not need my freedom when I'm dead.

I cannot live on tomorrow's bread."

- Langston Hughes, 'Democracy'.

47. "Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair."

- Langston Hughes, 'Mother To Son'.

48. "I’s been livin’ a long time in yesterday, Sandy chile, an’ I knows there ain’t no room in de world fo’ nothin’ mo’n love."

- Langston Hughes, 'Not Without Laughter'.

49. "Anyday, one can walk down the street in a big city and see a thousand people … very few photographers can make their prints not only reproductions of the people taken, but a comment upon them - or … a comment upon the social order that creates these lives."

- Langston Hughes, 'Essays On Art, Race, Politics, And World Affairs'.

50. "Most musicians remain poor. But the music that they make, even if it does not bring them millions, gives millions of people happiness."

- Langston Hughes, 'Works For Children And Young Adults: Biographies'.

Langston Hughes Inspirational Quotes About Dreams

Langston Hughes wrote many of his writings on dreams. Below are a few of them like Langston Hughes quotes hold fast to dreams and more.

51. "Gather out of star-dust, Earth-dust, Cloud-dust, Storm-dust, And splinters of hail, One handful of dream-dust, Not for sale."

- Langston Hughes, 'Dream Dust'.

52. "Now dreams are not available no the dreamers, nor songs to the singers. In some lands dark night and cold steel Prevail But the dream will come back, and the song Break It's jail."

- Langston Hughes, 'Oppression'.

53. "For all the dreams we've dreamed

The millions who have nothing for our pay -

Except the dream that's almost dead today."

- Langston Hughes, 'Let America Be America Again'.

54. "First in the heart is the dream -

Then the mind starts seeking a way."

- Langston Hughes, 'Freedom's Plow'.

55. "To fling my arms wide

In some place of the sun,

To whirl and to dance

Till the white day is done.

Then rest at cool evening

Beneath a tall tree

While night comes on gently,

Dark like me -

That is my dream!"

- Langston Hughes, 'Dream Variations'.

56. "Bring me all of your dreams,

You dreamers,

Bring me all of your

Heart melodies

That I may wrap them

In a blue cloud-cloth

Away from the too-rough fingers

Of the world."

- Langston Hughes, 'The Dream Keeper'.

57. "What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up

Like a raisin in the sun?

Or fester like a sore -

And then run?"

- Langston Hughes, 'Harlem'.

58. "I am so tired of waiting.

Aren’t you,

for the world to become good

and beautiful and kind?"

- Langston Hughes, 'Tired'.

59. "Hold fast to dreams

For when dreams go

Life is a barren field

Frozen with snow."

- Langston Hughes, 'Dreams'.

60. "You talk like they

don't kick dreams

around downtown."

- Langston Hughes, 'Comment On Curb'.

61. "Hold fast to dreams

For if dreams die

Life is a broken-winged bird

That cannot fly."

- Langston Hughes, 'Dreams'.

62. "There are words like Freedom

Sweet and wonderful to say

On my heart-strings freedom sings

All day everyday.

There are words like Liberty

That almost make me cry.

If you had known what I knew

You would know why."

- Langston Hughes, 'Refugee In America'.

63. "But there are certain very practical things American [black] 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."

- Langston Hughes.

64. "Frosting freedom is just frosting on somebody else's cake - and so must be till we learn how to bake."

- Langston Hughes, 'Frosting'.

65. "Good morning, daddy!

Ain’t you heard

The boogie-woogie rumble

Of a dream deferred?

You think it’s a happy beat?"

- Langston Hughes, 'Dream Boogie'.

Langston Hughes Quotes On Love And Beauty

Langston Hughes quotes about love are beautiful.

Lastly we have some of the best quotes on love from Langston Hughes.

66. "I loved my friend He went away from me There's nothing more to say The poem ends, Soft as it began- I loved my friend."

- Langston Hughes, 'Poem'.

67. "Perhaps the mission of an artist is to interpret beauty to people—the beauty within themselves."

- Langston Hughes, 'Selected Letters Of Langston Hughes'.

68. "Like a welcome summer rain, humor may suddenly cleanse and cool the earth, the air and you."

- Langston Hughes, 'The Collected Works Of Langston Hughes: Essays On Art, Race, Politics, And World Affairs'.

69. "Gather up

In the arms of your love -

Those who expect

No love from above."

- Langston Hughes, 'Prayer'.

70. "I’ve known rivers ancient as the world and older than the flow of human blood in human veins.

My soul has grown deep like the rivers."

- Langston Hughes.

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

- Langston Hughes, 'The Early Simple Stories'.

72. "Let the rain kiss you. Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops. Let the rain sing you a lullaby."

- Langston Hughes, 'April Rain Song'.

73. "The night is beautiful,

So the faces of my people."

- Langston Hughes, 'My People'.

74. "Oh, God of Dust and Rainbows,

Help us to see

That without the dust the rainbow

Would not be."

- Langston Hughes, 'Two Somewhat Different Epigrams I'.

75. "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."

- Langston Hughes, 'Life Is Fine'.

76. "To some people

Love is given,

To others

Only heaven."

- Langston Hughes, 'Luck'.

77. "Love is a naked shadow

On a gnarled and naked tree."

- Langston Hughes, 'Song For A Dark Girl'.

78. "I know, chile! Ever’thing there is but lovin’ leaves a rust on yo’ soul. An’ to love sho ‘nough, you got to have a spot in yo’ heart fo’ ever’body."

- Langston Hughes, 'Not Without Laughter'.

79. "While over Alabama earth

These words are gently spoken:

Serve - and hate will die unborn.

Love - and chains are broken."

- Langston Hughes, 'Alabama Earth'.

80. "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!"

- Langston Hughes, 'The Best of Simple'.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly quotes for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for Langston Hughes quotes then why not take a look at W. B. Yeats quotes, or Allen Ginsberg quotes.

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