The Negro Speaks of Rivers
The poem The Negro Speaks of River , written by Langston Hughes, speaks loudly of the creativity of black people who have in essence have a rich history beginning from the dawn of civilization. Langston Hughes was born in 1902 and past in 1967,and was the first writer to make a living off of his writing, during the Harlem Renaissance. This was a time where black people could only express themselves through literature. The author Langston Hughes explains in the poem, The Negro Speaks of Rivers that blacks have existed, like rivers of the world, and have helped in a major ways. Hughes, a writer, brought history alive through the poem, The Negro Speaks of Rivers.
The first line of the first stanza I ve know rivers implies that black people remember all of the struggles, and experiences that African Americans have gone through. In the poem I stands for black people. The second line in the poem, I ve know rivers ancient as the world and older that the flow of human blood in human veins is explaining how blacks have been around to help build this country long before they were ever acknowledged. Since the beginning of time African Americans have been here just like the great rivers. It also informs white America that blacks made this civilization.
The line, My soul has grown deep like river, concentrates on assuring people that our history has grown so deep that we will never forget how hard our ancestors worked. He compares our soul to rivers, because rivers achieve their goals through all necessary means, just like African Americans did by expressing themselves through literature. This line is a reminder of ones background and heritage. The author wrote this to teach the younger generations to take pride in our heritage and continue to keep our history in our souls.
The next stanza is extremely important, because Langston Hughes is comparing blacks to the great rivers of the world. The rivers are symbolizing the strength of the black race through the test of time. The next points in the poem are high points of African American history. Meanwhile, here he describes his experience with four rivers. The first river mentions is the Euphrates, he states, I bathed in the Euphrates when dawns were young. This line means this is where the history began. The next river he mentions is the Congo. The Congo is a Great River located in Africa. This is was an area where his people once lived and built it from the bottom on up. The next river was the Nile. Hughes writes, I looked upon the Nile and raised the pyramids above it. The Nile River is the longest river in the world. This symbolizes where great Egyptian pyramids were built. These pyramids were made prior to a Blue Print. Ultimately, this proves that they were an intelligent group of people. In addition, to those rivers there is one more that Hughes describes which is the Mighty Mississippi. Not only is this the last line in this stanza, but also the most powerful. This line involves the political side of things. 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. This line also implies to the Emancipation Proclamation.
All in all, this poem reflects the whole African American race because he seeks to remind his readers of the great history that has been denied. This poem could serve as history for the black people. When you read this poem you learn to respect the past and try to apply it in your present day life. Langston Hughes main purpose was to give the black race some identity and respect for there past.