Langston Hughes Reading
THE NEGRO ARTIST AND THE RACIAL MOUNTAIN BY LANGSTON
• "One of the most promising of the young Negro poets said to me once, 'I want
to be a poet--not a Negro poet'; meaning, i believe, 'I want to write like a
white poet'; meaning subconsciously, 'I would like to be a white poet';
meaning behind that, 'I would like to be white.' […] But this is the mountain
standing in the way of any true Negro art in America--this urge within the
race towards whiteness, the desire to pour racial individuality into a mold
of American standardization, and to be as little a Negro and as much
American as possible"
• "the present vogue in things Negro, although it may do as much harm as good
for the budding artist, has at least done this: it has brought him forcibly to
the attention of his own people among whom for so long, unless the other
race had noticed him beforehand, he was a prophet with little honour."
• "But jazz to me is one of the inherent expressions of Negro life in America"
• "So I ashamed for the black poet who says, 'I want to be a poet, not a Negro
poet,' as though his own racial world were not as interesting as any other
• the rise of African Americ