Journal article Open Access

"Blacks are beautiful. And ugly too": Moving beyond the Racial barrier and foregrounding Resistance in Langston Hughes' poetry

Munshi, Auritra

Langston Hughes, a famous African American poet of the Harlem Renaissance,
raises his voice like other Afro American writers such as Claude McKay, Zora
Neale Hurston, Nella Larsen, Jean Toomer and others regarding the collective
black consciousness which was eclipsed by the European High Modernism.
Harlem modernism brought out new avenues for the blacks by privileging upon
their own southern black vernacular, the rhythms of blues, and jazz. Thus, the
Harlem modernism, having its fervor of intense racial consciousness spurned
European cultural tropes, and thereby attempting to recuperate the souls of
the black folks from the ideological repression of the white mythology. African
American identity refers to the split personality, which a diasporic individual
usually undergoes on a daily basis in the host country. Langston Hughes,
an African American poet, seems to recourse to, to put in the words of Salman
Rushdie, the concept of ‘imaginary homelands’ in the United States of
America with a view to accentuate upon Afrocentricity because a large number
of African Americans used to be fond of considering them Americans in the
United States of America. It concomitantly, drives Hughes to think of them
as white-induced African Americans, who kept themselves away from their
ancestral cultural heritage enshrined in the Afrocentricity. It stands in the way
of the resurrection of the Africans in the United States of America. Although,
it may be indicative of foregrounding the ‘ghetto mentality’, he feels a dire necessity
to mobilize the oppressed Africans, and thereby asks for forging a racial
mountain for the blacks from where they can anticipate their strategic positions
by performing their own ethno-cultural slabs; it appears to be counter
hegemonic and self-contemplative, too, in carving out one’s own niche, which
the present paper seeks to show.

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