What was the dream that brought our ancestors to
America? It was rebirth, the craving for men to be born
again, the yearning for a second chance. With all of these
ideas comes the true American dream-Freedom. This is the
condition in which a man feels like a human being. It is the
purpose and consequence of rebirth. Throughout the life of
Langston Hughes he presented ideas in his writings that
help to define his perception of the American dream.In
beginning, Langston Hughes was born on February 1,
1902 in Joplin, Missouri. His father was James Nathaniel
Hughes, a man who studied law but was unable to take the
examination for the bar because he was black. His mother
was Carrie Hughes, a woman who studied at the University
of Kansas in an ongoing struggle to earn a living outside of
domestic labor. Langston’s father left home to live in Cuba
and then Mexico to free himself from the Jim Crow laws
and Segregation. Hughes then went to live with his
grandmother in Lawrence, Kansas until he was thirteen. His
grandmother, Mary Sampson Patterson Leary Langston,
was very prominent in the African American community of
Lawrence. Her first husband was killed at Harper’s Ferry
while fighting with John Brown; her second husband,
Hughes’ grandfather, was a prominent politician in Kansas
during the Reconstruction. During the time that he lived with
his grandmother, however, she was old and poor resulting
in little to eat and forcing them to rent out part of their small
house. Unable to give Langston the attention he needed
and his feelings of hurt and rejection by both his mother and
father caused him to grow up very insecure and unsure of
himself. In the second grade Langston was introduced to
books and soon became fascinated with them and found it
as an escape from his world into the wonderful world inside
of them. At the age of thirteen Hughes went to live with his
mother in Lincoln, Illinois and then Cleveland, Ohio where
he went to high school. It was in Lincoln that Hughes wrote
his first poem after being elected class poet by his fellow
classmates. Hughes, the only black at his school, said that
the only reason that he was elected was that his peers felt
that he must have a good sense of rhythm because of the
color of his skin. This position of class poet sparked
Hughes’ love for poetry and was the start of his life as a
poet. Hughes soon began to write poetry quite frequently
and he kept it all in a journal secret from other people.

Langston Hughes is most famous for his poetry yet he also
had a number of different careers throughout his lifetime.

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He was an author, poet, playwright, song lyricist, and
lecturer starting in 1921. In the years of 1920-1921 he was
an English teacher in Mexico. In the years of 1949-1950
Hughes can be credited with founding community theatres
in major cities across the United States such as Harlem,
Los Angeles, and Chicago. In following, what is the
American Dream? When asked, this question would
receive a variety of responses, yet the main response would
probably be freedom. The denotative meaning of the
American dream is given in the Random House Dictionary:
1.The ideals of freedom, equality, and opportunity
traditionally held to be available to every American. 2. A
life of personal happiness and material comfort as
traditionally sought by individuals in the U.S.(66) Many
Americans persist in believing that America is the greatest
country in the world and that man is basically good and can
be better and has the opportunity to fulfill his productive
capabilities. “The belief that America should offer equal
opportunity to all men is a fundamental part of the
American dream.”(Werner XI)
History