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The Negro Speaks of Rivers Summary
Langston Hughes

Everything you need to understand or teach The Negro Speaks of Rivers by Langston Hughes.

  • The Negro Speaks of Rivers Summary & Study Guide

The Negro Speaks of Rivers Summary


"The Negro Speaks of Rivers" is a short, evocative poem written by Langston Hughes when he was only seventeen. Despite Hughes's relative lack of real-world experience, the work embodies a wisdom and cultural awareness far beyond the poet's years. The poem's narrator evokes images that span thousands of years and thousands of miles, relating the experiences of all black people throughout history to himself in his present day.

Hughes wrote the poem while traveling by train across the Mississippi River on a trip to Mexico. Biographer Arnold Rampersad, in his book The Life of Langston Hughes, tells the story:

The beauty of the hour and the setting—the great muddy river glinting in the sun, the banked and tinted summer clouds, the rush of the train toward the dark, all touched an adolescent sensibility tender after the gloomy day. The...

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Study Pack

The The Negro Speaks of Rivers Study Pack contains about 22 pages of study material in 10 products, including:

The Negro Speaks of Rivers Study Guide

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