For this blog post, we were assigned to read poems from Langston Hughes. I elected to read and talk about two of them specifically because those two clearly displayed moral and ethical lessons that are prominent and common that should be pointed out.
To begin, Night Funeral In Harlem depicts the story of a poor boy in Harlem, New York, that was killed and was too poor to have a funeral. The poor man had no money left to pay for funeral services so his friends contributed. The funeral was simple, but full of love and affection because people came together to provide a funeral for the beloved man who was unable to provide for himself. The poem’s primary theme illustrates the idea of humanity over material good, which is something that we as a world need to understand. Too often in today’s day and age people value material goods over love, compassion, kindness, and other human emotions that generate happiness in the world. If people cared less about materials and more about humanity, the world would be a happier and less greedy place.
The second poem I read was titled “I, Too”, and alluded to the ideas of breaking away from the oppression that Black Americans faced and continue to endure every day. This poem, while short and simple, conveyed an extremely powerful message that, “Tomorrow, I’ll be at the table When company comes. Nobody’ll dare Say to me, Eat in the kitchen.” This line delineates that one day, Blacks and Whites will eat at the same table metaphorically, and be seen as equal humans. This poem was written over 100 years ago but continues to maintain relevance in today’s society, further emphasizing the problems with race in this world. This is yet another powerful example of literature that conveys a powerful social justice message that is as pressing today as it was in the early 1900’s.
Overall, these two poems by Langston Hughes illustrate important lessons of equality, love, compassion, and other traits that the world is lacking today. If people went back to the basics of humanity and acted with empathy and affection, the world would be a better place.