Langston Hughes was a phenomenal writer and was known for shaping and contributing to the artistic creations that came out of the Harlem Renaissance. During this era, many Black artists utilized their gifts to express and document their life and cultural experience of being Black in America.
The poem “I, Too” by Hughes was relevant during its time, and is still relevant in today’s society. He started the poem off with, “I, too, sing America,” letting everyone know that even though I am Black, and my skin color is not favored by most, I am an American too.
Today, Blacks are still facing many challenges with being Black in America and racism and discrimination still exists. Hughes wanted that to be known and to embrace the fact that he is too American. He also said, “They send me to eat in the kitchen when company comes, but I laugh, eat well, and grow strong.” He then said, “Tomorrow, I’ll be at the table when company comes. Nobody’ll dare say to me ‘eat in the kitchen,’ then.”
Hughes wasn’t allowed to eat at the table because of his skin color, but when he used the word “tomorrow,” he was hopeful that one day, he would be able to sit at the table without judgment or discrimination. I long too for the day when we all will be able to sit together without being focused on our differences, but to find common ground, mutual respect, with the understanding that our differences are a part of who we are, and that we too have a lot in common with each other.
Hughes concluded his poem with, “Besides-They’ll see how beautiful I am and be ashamed-I, too, am America.” Hughes made it known that if they had spent more time getting to know him and had judged him by his character instead of his looks, then they would have seen a great person who is more than his skin color, who was not only America, but who was a human being as well. Look at a person’s character first before you judge them by their outward appearance.
I proudly say, “I am America Too.”