I remember reading some of his poetry in high school, and I fell in love with both his style and his candid anger. It was never talked about in school, but I wish it had been. It hits the hard home of what this country is still going through today. Below is an excerpt from the NY Times article.
“It wasn’t until college that I learned that Hughes wasn’t just a dreamer. The poet who wrote about deferred dreams was the same writer who wrote, “If the government can set aside some spot for a elk to be a elk without being bothered, or a fish to be a fish without getting hooked, or a buffalo to be a buffalo without being shot down, there ought to be a place in this American country where a Negro can be a Negro without being Jim Crowed.”
Hughes wrote, “I swear to the Lord/I still can’t see/Why democracy means/Everybody but me.”
He wrote, “I tire so of hearing people say,/Let things take their course./Tomorrow is another day./I do not need my freedom when I’m dead./I cannot live on tomorrow’s bread.”
Sometimes he wrote rebukes: “Americans of good-will, the nice decent church people, the well-meaning liberals, the good hearted souls who themselves wouldn’t lynch anyone, must begin to realize that they have to be more than passively good-hearted, more than church goingly Christian, and much more than word-of-mouth in their liberalism.”