What was Langston Hughes’ poetic contribution?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I would say that Hughes' greatest and largest contribution to poetry is to bring voice to those who were silenced by the cultural majority.  Hughes' poetry is especially powerful because it speaks for people of color in a nation and in a time where they were not heard.  Yet, I think that Hughes' work can be extrapolated to anyone who is the victim of being silenced, or anyone who seeks to be heard.  So many of his poems seek to bring voices and narratives from margin to center.  This becomes a very large portion of Hughes' writing and his motivation.  I think that this becomes on of his best contributions to the discourse of the time and makes him invaluable for all time.  In his work and his poetry in particular, there is a demand for voices to be heard, for experiences to be acknowledged.  In this light, Hughes' contributions are not only literary, but political and historical, as well.

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