106+ Best Langston Hughes Quotes: Exclusive Selection

James Mercer Langston Hughes was an American poet, social activist, novelist, playwright, and columnist. Profoundly inspirational Langston Hughes quotes will encourage growth in life, make you wiser and broaden your perspective.

If you’re searching for meaningful quotes by greatest poets that perfectly capture what you’d like to say or just want to feel inspired yourself, browse through an amazing collection of profound Lord Byron quotes, amazing Nikki Giovanni quotes and top Pablo Neruda quotes.

Famous Langston Hughes Quotes

Reach Up Your Hand… and take a star. – Langston Hughes

I, too, sing America. I am the darker brother. They send me to eat in the kitchen When company comes, But I laugh, And eat well, And grow strong. Tomorrow, I’ll be at the table When company comes. Nobody’ll dare Say to me, Eat in the kitchen, Then. Besides, they’ll see how beautiful I am And be ashamed– I, too, am America. – Langston Hughes

Good morning, Revolution: You’re the very best friend I ever had. We gonna pal around together from now on – Langston Hughes

Keep your hand on the plow. Hold on. – Langston Hughes

Oh, God of Dust and Rainbows, Help us to see That without the dust the rainbow Would not be. – Langston Hughes

Misery is when you heard on the radio that the neighborhood you live in is a slum but you always thought it was home. – Langston Hughes

What happens to a dream deferred? Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun? Or fester like a sore– And then run? Does it stink like rotten meat? Or crust and sugar over– like a syrupy sweet? Maybe it just sags like a heavy load. Or does it explode? – Langston Hughes

Well, I like to eat, sleep, drink, and be in love. I like to work, read, learn, and understand life. – Langston Hughes

I loved my friend He went away from me There’s nothing more to say The poem ends, Soft as it began- I loved my friend. – Langston Hughes

Good morning, daddy! Ain’t you heard The boogie-woogie rumble Of a dream deferred? Listen closely: You’ll hear their feet Beating out and beating out a – You think It’s a happy beat? Listen to it closely: Ain’t you heard something underneath like a – What did I say? Sure, I’m happy! Take it away! Dream Boogie Hey, pop! Re-bop! Mop! Y-e-a-h! – Langston Hughes

We younger Negro artists who create now intend to express our individual dark-skinned selves without fear or shame. If white people are pleased, we are glad. If they are not, it doesn’t matter. We know we are beautiful. And ugly too. The tom-tom cries and the tom-tom laughs. If colored people are pleased, we are glad. If they are not, it doesn’t matter either. We build our temples for tomorrow, strong as we know how, and we stand on top of the mountain, free within ourselves. – Langston Hughes

I wish the rent Was heaven sent. – Langston Hughes

Politics can be the graveyard of the poet. And only poetry can be his resurrection. – Langston Hughes

Melting pot Harlem-Harlem of honey and chocolate and caramel and rum and vinegar and lemon and lime and gall. Dusky dream Harlem rumbling into a nightmare tunnel where the subway from the Bronx keeps right on downtown. – Langston Hughes

Peace We passed their graves: The dead men there, Winners or losers, Did not care. In the dark They could not see Who had gained The victory. – Langston Hughes

Why should I want to be white? I am a Negro – and beautiful! – Langston Hughes

Sometimes I wish the public were equally aware of the men of our race in the cultural fields. You, for instance, have you ever bought a book by a Negro writer? – Langston Hughes

For my best poems were all written when I felt the worst. When I was happy, I didn’t write anything. – Langston Hughes

An artist must be free to choose what he does, certainly, but he must also never be afraid to do what he might choose. – Langston Hughes

Sometimes a crumb falls From the tables of joy, Sometimes a bone Is flung. To some people Love is given, To others Only heaven. – Langston Hughes

I am the American heartbreak- The rock on which Freedom Stumped its toe. – Langston Hughes

The calm, Cool face of the river, Asked me for a kiss – Langston Hughes

I’ve been scared and battered. My hopes the wind done scattered. Snow has friz me, Sun has baked me, Looks like between ’em they done Tried to make me Stop laughin’, stop lovin’, stop livin’– But I don’t care! I’m still here! – Langston Hughes

When peoples care for you and cry for you, they can straighten out your soul. – Langston Hughes

Life is for the living. Death is for the dead. Let life be like music. And death a note unsaid. – Langston Hughes

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 the liberalism. – Langston Hughes

When poems stop talking about the moon and begin to mention poverty, trade unions, color, color lines and colonies, somebody tells the police. – Langston Hughes

I’m so tired of waiting, aren’t you, for the world to become good and beautiful and kind? – Langston Hughes

Democracy will not come Today, this year Nor ever Through compromise and fear. – Langston Hughes

The only way to get a thing done is to start to do it, then keep on doing it, and finally you’ll finish it. – Langston Hughes

A world I dream where black or white, Whatever race you be, Will share the bounties of the Earth And every man is free. – Langston Hughes

We build our temples for tomorrow, strong as we know how, and we stand on top of the mountain, free within ourselves. – Langston Hughes

Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed – Let it be that great strong land of love Where never kings connive nor tyrants scheme That any man be crushed by one above. – Langston Hughes

Though you may hear me holler, And you may see me cry– I’ll be dogged, sweet baby, If you gonna see me die. – Langston Hughes

I stuck my head out the window this morning and spring kissed me bang in the face. – Langston Hughes

Most musicians remain poor. But the music that they make, even if it does not bring them millions, gives millions of people happiness. – Langston Hughes

It’s such a Bore Being always Poor. – Langston Hughes

Well, son, I’ll tell you: Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair. It’s had tacks in it, and splinters, And boards torn up, And places with no carpet on the floor — Bare. But all the time I’se been a-climbin’ on, and reachin’ landin’s, And turnin’ corners, And sometimes goin’ in the dark Where there ain’t been no light. So boy, don’t you turn back. Don’t you set down on the steps ‘Cause you finds it’s kinder hard. Don’t you fall now — For I’se still goin’, honey, I’se still climbin’, and life for me ain’t been no crystal stair. – Langston Hughes

Your explanation depresses me, I said. Your nonsense depresses me, said Simple. – Langston Hughes

Looks like what drives me crazy Don’t have no effect on you– But I’m gonna keep on at it Till it drives you crazy, too. – Langston Hughes

Negroes – Sweet and docile, Meek, humble, and kind: Beware the day – They change their mind. – Langston Hughes

I’ve known rivers: I’ve known rivers ancient as the world and older than the flow of human blood in human veins. My soul has grown deep like the rivers. I bathed in the Euphrates when dawns were young. I built my hut near the Congo and it lulled me to sleep. I looked upon the Nile and raised the pyramids above it. I heard the singing of the Mississippi when Abe Lincoln went down to New Orleans, and I’ve seen its muddy bosom turn all golden in the sunset. I’ve known rivers: Ancient, dusky rivers. My soul has grown deep like the rivers. – Langston Hughes

I went down to the river, I set down on the bank. I tried to think but couldn’t, So I jumped in and sank. – Langston Hughes

Life is a big sea full of many fish. I let down my nets and pulled. I’m still pulling. – Langston Hughes

Everybody should take each other as they are, white, black, Indians, Creole. Then there would be no prejudice, nations would get along. – Langston Hughes

When a man starts out to build a world, He starts first with himself – Langston Hughes

LIBERTY! FREEDOM! DEMOCRACY! True anyhow no matter how many Liars use those words. – Langston Hughes

I swear to the Lord, I still can’t see, why Democracy means, everybody but me. – Langston Hughes

My soul has grown deep like the rivers. – Langston Hughes

Out of the rack and ruin of our gangster death, the rape and rot of graft, and stealth, and lies, We, the people, must redeem The land, the mines, the plants, the rivers. The mountains and the endless plain– All, all the stretch of these great green states– And make America again! – Langston Hughes

Life doesn’t frighten me at all. – Langston Hughes

Let the rain sing you a lullaby. – Langston Hughes

There is no color line in death. I swear to the lord I still can’t see Why Democracy means Everybody but me. O, yes, I say it plain, America never was America to me, and yet I swear this oath – America will be! I am the American heartbreak- The rock on which Freedom Stumped its toe. – Langston Hughes

America never was America to me And yet I swear this oath – America will be! – Langston Hughes

Let the rain kiss you. Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops. Let the rain sing you a lullaby. – Langston Hughes

Wear it Like a banner for the proud? Not like a shroud. – Langston Hughes

A dream deferred is a dream denied. – Langston Hughes

Humor is laughing at what you haven’t got when you ought to have it. – Langston Hughes

You and I By Henry Alford My hand is lonely for your clasping, dear; My ear is tired waiting for your call. I want your strength to help, your laugh to cheer; Heart, soul and senses need you, one and all. I droop without your full, frank sympathy; We ought to be together—you and I; We want each other so, to comprehend the dream, the hope, things planned, or seen, or wrought. Companion, comforter and guide and friend, as much as love asks love, does thought ask thought. Life is so short, so fast the lone hours fly, we ought to be together, you and I. – Langston Hughes

Lawrence has a wonderful hill in it, with a university on top and the first time I ran away from home, I ran up the hill and looked across the world: Kansas wheat fields and the Kaw River, and I wanted to go someplace, too. I got a whipping for it. – Langston Hughes

Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken-winged bird that cannot fly. – Langston Hughes

Negro writers, just by being black, have been on the blacklist all our lives. Do you know that there are libraries in our country that will not stock a book by a Negro writer, not even as a gift? There are towns where Negro newspapers and magazines cannot be sold except surreptitiously. There are American magazines that have never published anything by Negroes. There are film studios that have never hired a Negro writer. Censorship for us begins at the color line. – Langston Hughes

Through my grandmother’s stories always life moved, moved heroically toward an end. Nobody ever cried in my grandmother’s stories. They worked, or schemed, or fought. But no crying. When my grandmother died, I didn’t cry, either. Something about my grandmother’s stories (without her ever having said so) taught me the uselessness of crying about anything. – Langston Hughes

That Justice is a blind goddess Is a thing to which we black are wise: Her bandage hides two festering sores That once perhaps were eyes. – Langston Hughes

I dream a world… where wretchedness will hang its head and joy, like a pearl, attends the needs of all mankind. Of such I dream, my world! – Langston Hughes

I asked you, baby, if you understood- You told me that you didn’t, but you thought you would. – Langston Hughes

I look at my own body with eyes no longer blind- And I see that my own hands can make the world that’s in my mind. – Langston Hughes

So, since I’m still here livin’, I guess I will live on. I could’ve died for love– But for livin’ I was born. – Langston Hughes

Negro blood is sure powerful, because just one drop of black blood makes a colored man. One drop–you are a Negro! . . . Black is powerful. – Langston Hughes

Life is an egg you have to be patient and careful with it or it will break. – Langston Hughes

O, let my land be a land where Liberty Is crowned with no false patriotic wreath, But opportunity is real, and life is free, Equality is in the air we breathe. – Langston Hughes

I don’t dare start thinking in the morning. I don’t dare start thinking in the morning. If I thought thoughts in bed, Them thoughts would bust my head– So I don’t dare start thinking in the morning. – Langston Hughes

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. – Langston Hughes

The rain plays a little sleep song on our roof at night And I love the rain. – Langston Hughes

Go home and write / a page tonight. / And let that page come out of you – / Then, it will be true. – Langston Hughes

I stay cool, and dig all jive, That’s the way I stay alive. My motto, as I live and learn, is Dig and be dug In return. – Langston Hughes

It were depression, too. They cut my wages down once at the foundry. They cut my wages down again. Then they cut my wages out, also the job. – Langston Hughes

Because my mouth Is wide with laughter And my throat Is deep with song, You do not think I suffer after I have held my pain So long? Because my mouth Is wide with laughter You do not hear My inner cry? Because my feet Are gay with dancing You do not know I die? – Langston Hughes

Frosting Freedom Is just frosting On somebody else’s Cake– And so must be Till we Learn how to Bake. – Langston Hughes

There’s a certain amount of traveling in a dream deferred. – Langston Hughes

I do not want no pretty woman. First thing you know, you fall in love with her-then you got to kill somebody about her. She’ll make you so jealous, you’ll bust! – Langston Hughes

Out of love, No regrets– Though the goodness Be wasted forever. Out of love, No regrets– Though the return Be never. – Langston Hughes

Believing everything she read In the daily news, (No in-between to choose) She thought that only One side won, Not that BOTH Might lose. – Langston Hughes

Money and art are far apart. – Langston Hughes

Folks, I’m telling you, birthing is hard and dying is mean- so get yourself a little loving in between. – Langston Hughes

Life is a system of half-truths and lies, Opportunistic, convenient evasion. – Langston Hughes

Both of them were very good and kind – the one who went to church and the one who didn’t. And no doubt from them I learned to like both Christians and sinners equally well. – Langston Hughes

A dog gets lonesome just like a human. He wants to associate with other dogs, but when they take him out, the poor dog is on a leash and cannot run around. – Langston Hughes

If you want to honor me, give some young boy or girl who’s coming along trying to create arts and write and compose and sing and act and paint and dance and make something out of the beauties of the Negro race-give that child some help. – Langston Hughes

Humor is when the joke’s on you but hits the other fellow first — before it boomerangs. – Langston Hughes

Gather out of star-dust, Earth-dust, Cloud-dust, Storm-dust, And splinters of hail, One handful of dream-dust, Not for sale. – Langston Hughes

I have discovered in life that there are ways of getting almost anywhere you want to go, if you really want to go. – Langston Hughes

Teach us all to do right, Lord, please, and to get along together with that atom bomb on this earth because I do not want it to fall on me-nor Thee-nor anybody living. Amen! – Langston Hughes

Like a welcome summer rain, humor may suddenly cleanse and cool the earth, the air and you. – Langston Hughes

If the government can set aside some spot for a elk to be a elk without being bothered, or a buffalo to be a buffalo without being shot down, there ought to be some place where a Negro can be a Negro without being Jim Crowed. – Langston Hughes

Road’s in front o’ me, Nothin’ to do but walk. – Langston Hughes

Words Like Freedom There are words like Freedom Sweet and wonderful to say. On my heartstring’s freedom sings All day everyday. There are words like Liberty That almost make me cry. If you had known what I know You would know why. – Langston Hughes

But there are certain very practical things American Negro writers can do. And must do. There’s a song that says, the time ain’t long. That song is right. Something has got to change in America-and change soon. We must help that change to come. – Langston Hughes

The past has been a mint of blood and sorrow. That must not be True of tomorrow. – Langston Hughes

Blues had the pulse beat of the people who keep on going. – Langston Hughes

In the spring rain, the pond and the river become one. Into every life some rain must fall. Usually when your car windows are down. It raineth on the Just and the Unjust Alike, But the Unjust stealeth the Just’s umbrella Let the rain kiss you. Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops. Let the rain sing you a lullaby. – Langston Hughes

Beauty for some provides escape, who gain a happiness in eyeing the gorgeous buttocks of the ape or Autumn sunsets exquisitely dying. – Langston Hughes

As long as what is is-and Georgia is Georgia-I will take Harlem for mine. At least, if trouble comes, I will have my own window to shoot from. – Langston Hughes

Pleasured equally In seeking as in finding, Each detail minding, Old Walt went seeking And finding. – Langston Hughes

Gather up In the arms of your love—Those who expect No love from above. – Langston Hughes

When I were a young man, I used to play baseball and steal bases just like Jackie Robinson. If the empire would rule me out, I would get mad and hit the empire. – Langston Hughes

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