Langston Hughes was one of the leading voices in twentieth-century literature. As a writer, he took chances, not minding if what he had to say upset someone. His writing reflected not only his life, but life around him. Whether he attacked the discrimination aimed at African Americans or expounded on communist philosophy, his writing came from who he was.
Best known as a poet, Hughes also wrote short stories, novels, plays, lyrics, and nonfiction books for children. One of his favorite things to do was to write poetry that sounded like the blues and jazz music he loved so well. He became a leading voice in the Harlem Renaissance, a 1920s movement of great artistic achievement by African Americans, and remains an inspiration for poets and playwrights in the twenty-first century.