The Negro Speaks of Rivers Summary & Analysis by Langston Hughes

Langston hughes the negro speaks of rivers.small

"The Negro Speaks of River" is a poem written in 1920 by the American poet Langston Hughes. One of the key poems of a literary movement called the "Harlem Renaissance," "The Negro Speaks of River" traces black history from the beginning of human civilization to the present, encompassing both triumphs (like the construction of the Egyptian pyramids) and horrors (like American slavery). The poem argues that the black "soul" has incorporated all of this historical experience, and in the process has become "deep." The poem thus suggests that black cultural identity is continuous, that it stretches across the violence and displacement of slavery to connect with the past—and that black people have made vital, yet often neglected contributions to human civilization.

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