Langston Hughes and August Wilson’s Portrayals of African Americans

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The present research has identified that Langston Hughes and August Wilson wrote of black lives, proclaimed true black proclaimed pride in being black during a period in history that being black meant in during reticular, prejudice, and hardships. This was before James Brown’s song Say it loud-I’m Black and I’m proud. These authors inspired and took on roles of leadership in Black pride movements. Langton Hughes was considered an activist before Dr. Martin Luther King. Both authors’ works portrayed African Americans throughout history. Both authors addressed racism, economic bias, social issues. Both authors addressed dealing, coping, excelling or failing. As much as these authors had in common, there are differences in their approaches. This essay will make a comparison of the portrayals of African Americans by Langston Hughes and August Wilson. The younger Negro artists who create now intend to express our individual dark-skinned selves without fear or shame. If white people are pleased, we are glad. If they are not, it doesn’t matter. We know we are beautiful. And ugly, too. The tom-tom cries and the tom-tom laughs. If colored people are pleased we are glad. If they are not, their displeasure doesn’t matter either. We build our temples for tomorrow, strong as we know how, and we stand on top of the mountain free within ourselves. This quote represents the pride Langston Hughes portrayed in his African American characters. Langston Hughes said this in connect to his poem Mother to Son. In this poem, Hughes portrays a mother telling her son of the hardships he faced in her life and for him not to give in to hardships. She is giving him encouragement to keep going not to allow hardship to stop him. Without fear or shame, he said. Without fear or shame, he wrote realistic characters into his works. Characters that came from the true experiences in life, both his own and others. Such as his poem I, too America or as it is sometimes called I, too. Hughes wrote this poem after being denied passage on a ship due to racial prejudice. Hughes was returning to America from Europe at the time. He wanted to show the world a discriminated African American at home.