Langston Hughes: A Poet’s Life

Chapter 2

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A slave woman

Langston Hughes is from the USA. Not long ago, black people in the USA were made to work for white people. They worked long days for no pay. They were slaves. This is part of a poem Langston wrote about being a slave.

I am the one who labored as a slave,

Beaten and mistreated for the work that I gave –

Children sold away from me, my husband sold, too.

No safety, no love, no respect was I due.

– from “The Negro Mother

Langston was not a slave. But his great-grandmother was. Her name was Lucy Langston. The white man who owned her fell in love with her. So he set her free. He could not marry Lucy. The law said white people could not marry black people. But they did live together. They also had children together. One of the children was Charles Langston. He was the grandfather of our poet.


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BC Reads: Adult Literacy Fundamental English - Reader 2 Copyright © 2015 by Shantel Ivits is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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