What inspired Langston Hughes to write "I, Too, Sing America"?

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In the poem "I, Too, Sing America," by Langston Hughes, the speaker confidently foretells of a future for black Americans where they will be treated equally and recognized as beautiful. He does this comparing the societal status of black Americans to seats at a dinner table. Hughes wrote about being a black American often, and he is one of the leading figures in the Harlem Renaissance, a period of prolific literary and artistic output completed by black artists.

The title suggests that Hughes is referring to a poem by Walt Whitman, one of America's most famous poets, who published controversial and innovative poetry around the time of the Civil War in America. In particular, Hughes seems to be referring to Whitman's poem "I Hear America Singing," in which Whitman lists the many different types of Americans he notices around him: mothers, boatmen, masons, shoemakers, and so on While Whitman's poem doesn't explicitly exclude black Americans, all the characters in the poem are racially...

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