Authors: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

A collection of thoughts and quotes by Langston Hughes on hope, wisdom, dreams, life, music, poetry, death, inspiration, pain, love, soul and God.

79 Inspiring Quotes By Langston Hughes To Live By

Quick Facts

Famous As: Poet, Novelist, Playwright, & Columnist

Born On: February 1, 1902

Died On: May 22, 1967

Born In: Joplin, Missouri, United States

Died At Age: 65

James Mercer Langston Hughes was an American social activist, playwright, novelist, poet and essayist. He was associated with the Harlem Renaissance movement that swept across New York City during the 1920s. Hughes was also one of the pioneers of a form of poetry that came to be known as jazz poetry and is regarded as one of its earliest exponents. He had been a poet right from his childhood and his first work titled ‘The Negro Speaks of Rivers’ was published in the influential ‘The Crisis magazine’. That poem became one of his most famous works and was published in several other magazines over the years. Hughes produced a vast amount of work throughout his career including poetry collections like ‘The Weary Blues’, ‘Let America be America Again’, short story collections like ‘The Way of White Folks’ and novels like ‘Not Without Laughter’ among many other works. He was truly an icon of the African-American population of New York City at the time, who provided a whole new perspective to social activism through his literary works. We bring to you a treasure trove of quotes that have been excerpted from his novels, books, poems and writings. Read on to explore a compilation of some of the best known quotes by Langston Hughes, covering various aspects of life. The quotes would surely leave a lasting impression on your mind and keep you inspired.
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Hold fast to dreams, For if dreams die Life is a broken-winged bird, That cannot fly.

Langston Hughes

Life is for the living. Death is for the dead. Let life be like music. And death a note unsaid.

Langston Hughes

Let the rain kiss you. Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops. Let the rain sing you a lullaby.

Langston Hughes

I went down to the river, I set down on the bank. I tried to think but couldn't, So I jumped in and sank.

Langston Hughes

Well, I like to eat, sleep, drink, and be in love. I like to work, read, learn, and understand life.

Langston Hughes

I have discovered in life that there are ways of getting almost anywhere you want to go, if you really want to go.

Langston Hughes

Looks like what drives me crazy Don't have no effect on you-- But I'm gonna keep on at it Till it drives you crazy, too.

Langston Hughes

I loved my friend He went away from me There's nothing more to say The poem ends, Soft as it began- I loved my friend.

Langston Hughes

I stay cool, and dig all jive, That's the way I stay alive. My motto, as I live and learn, is Dig and be dug In return.

Langston Hughes

Folks, I'm telling you, birthing is hard and dying is mean- so get yourself a little loving in between.

Langston Hughes

Hold fast to dreams for if dreams die life is a broken-winged bird that can not fly. Hold fast to dreams for when dreams go life is a barren field frozen with snow.

Langston Hughes

Oh, God of Dust and Rainbows, Help us to see That without the dust the rainbow Would not be.

Langston Hughes

Though you may hear me holler, And you may see me cry-- I'll be dogged, sweet baby, If you gonna see me die.

Langston Hughes

So since I'm still here livin', I guess I will live on. I could've died for love-- But for livin' I was born.

Langston Hughes

Humor is laughing at what you haven't got when you ought to have it.

Langston Hughes

I've known rivers: I've known rivers ancient as the world and older than the flow of human blood in human veins. My soul has grown deep like the rivers.

Langston Hughes

To some people Love is given, To others Only Heaven.

Langston Hughes

I swear to the Lord,I still can't see,Why Democracy means,Everybody but me.

Langston Hughes

Gather out of star-dust, Earth-dust, Cloud-dust, Storm-dust, And splinters of hail, One handful of dream-dust, Not for sale.

Langston Hughes

I asked you, baby, If you understood- You told me that you didn't, But you thought you would.

Langston Hughes

Out of love, No regrets-- Though the goodness Be wasted forever. Out of love, No regrets-- Though the return Be never.

Langston Hughes

...the only way to get a thing done is to start to do it, then keep on doing it, and finally you'll finish it,....

Langston Hughes

Yet the ivory gods, And the ebony gods, And the gods of diamond-jade, Are only silly puppet gods That people themselves Have made.-

Langston Hughes

An artist must be free to choose what he does, certainly, but he must also never be afraid to do what he might choose

Langston Hughes

Good morning, Revolution: You're the very best friend I ever had. We gonna pal around together from now on

Langston Hughes

The calm, Cool face of the river, Asked me for a kiss

Langston Hughes

Cheap little rhymes A cheap little tune Are sometimes as dangerous As a sliver of the moon.

Langston Hughes

Believing everything she read In the daily news, (No in-between to choose) She thought that only One side won, Not that BOTH Might lose.

Langston Hughes

When peoples care for you and cry for you, they can straighten out your soul.

Langston Hughes

I tire so of hearing people say, Let things take their course. Tomorrow is another day. I do not need my freedom when I'm dead. I cannot live on tomorrow's bread.

Langston Hughes

How still, How strangely still The water is today, It is not good For water To be so still that way. ~ "Sea Calm

Langston Hughes

Life is a egg you have to be patient and carefull with it or it will brake

Langston Hughes

Sometimes a crumb falls From the tables of joy, Sometimes a bone Is flung. To some people Love is given, To others Only heaven.

Langston Hughes

When a man starts out to build a world, He starts first with himself

Langston Hughes

I wish the rent Was heaven sent.

Langston Hughes

LIBERTY! FREEDOM! DEMOCRACY! True anyhow no matter how many Liars use those words.

Langston Hughes

Gather up In the arms of your love—Those who expect No love from above.

Langston Hughes

Most musicians remain poor. But the music that they make, even if it does not bring them millions, gives millions of people happiness.

Langston Hughes

Rest at pale evening... A tall slim tree... Night coming tenderly Black like me

Langston Hughes

7 x 7 + love = An amount Infinitely above: 7 x 7 - love.

Langston Hughes

The past has been a mint Of blood and sorrow. That must not be True of tomorrow.

Langston Hughes

The Dream Keeper Bring me all of your dreams, You dreamer, Bring me all your Heart melodies That I may wrap them In a blue cloud-cloth Away from the too-rough fingers Of the world.

Langston Hughes

I stuck my head out the window this morning and spring kissed me bang in the face.

Langston Hughes

Pleasured equally In seeking as in finding, Each detail minding, Old Walt went seeking And finding.

Langston Hughes

What happens to a dream deferred? / Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun?

Langston Hughes

I like to work, read, learn, and understand life.

Langston Hughes

Frosting Freedom Is just frosting On somebody else's Cake-- And so must be Till we Learn how to Bake.

Langston Hughes

Peace We passed their graves: The dead men there, Winners or losers, Did not care. In the dark They could not see Who had gained The victory.

Langston Hughes

There is no color line in death.

Langston Hughes

Your explanation depresses me," I said. "Your nonsense depresses me," said Simple.

Langston Hughes

Life dosent frighten me at all.

Langston Hughes

What happens to a dream deferred?

Langston Hughes

O, let my land be a land where Liberty Is crowned with no false patriotic wreath, But opportunity is real, and life is free, Equality is in the air we breathe.

Langston Hughes

Oppression Now dreams Are not available To the dreamers, Nor songs To the singers. In some lands Dark night And cold steel Prevail-- But the dream Will come back, And the song Break Its jail.

Langston Hughes

I am so tired of waiting. Aren’t you, for the world to become good and beautiful and kind? Let us take a knife and cut the world in two — and see what worms are eating at the rind.

Langston Hughes

American Heartbreak I am the American heartbreak-- The rock on which Freedom Stumped its toe-- The great mistake That Jamestown made Long ago.

Langston Hughes

Justice That Justice is a blind goddess Is a thing to which we black are wise: Her bandage hides two festering sores That once perhaps were eyes.

Langston Hughes

They rung my bell to ask me. Could I recommend a maid. I said, yes, your momma.

Langston Hughes

Negroes Sweet and docile, Meek, humble, and kind: Beware the day They change their minds! Wind In the cotton fields, Gentle breeze: Beware the hour It uproots trees!

Langston Hughes

Go home and write / a page tonight. / And let that page come out of you - / Then, it will be true.

Langston Hughes

I look at my own body With eyes no longer blind— And I see that my own hands can make The world that’s in my mind. Then let us hurry, comrades, The road to find.

Langston Hughes

Well, son, I'll tell you: Life for me ain't been no crystal stair.

Langston Hughes

Books -where if people suffered, they suffered in beautiful language, not in monosyllables, as we did in Kansas

Langston Hughes

Impasse I could tell you If I wanted to, What makes me What I am. But I don't Really want to – And you don't Give a damn.

Langston Hughes

My soul has grown deep like the rivers.

Langston Hughes

Color Wear it Like a banner For the proud-- Not like a shroud. Wear it Like a song Soaring high-- Not moan or cry.

Langston Hughes

I will not take ‘but’ for an answer.

Langston Hughes

You see, books had been happening to me.

Langston Hughes

Like a welcome summer rain, humor may suddenly cleanse and cool the earth, the air and you.

Langston Hughes

God in his infinite wisdom Did not make me very wise- So when my actions are stupid They hardly take God by surprise.

Langston Hughes

As I learn from you, I guess you learn From me --- although You're older --- and white And somewhat more free.

Langston Hughes

Because shoes got by devilish ways will burn your feet.

Langston Hughes

The sea is a desert of waves, A wilderness of water.

Langston Hughes

Freedom Is a strong seed Planted In a great need. I live here, too. I want freedom Just as you.

Langston Hughes

For poems are like rainbows; they escape you quickly.

Langston Hughes

2 and 2 are 4. 4 and 4 are 8. But what would happen If the last 4 was late? And how would it be If one 2 was me? Or if the first 4 was you Divided by 2?

Langston Hughes

As much as they loved Negroes, Neroes didn't seem to love Michael and Anne.

Langston Hughes

Of course Covarrubias wasn't a negro, but how he caught the darky spirit!

Langston Hughes

Quiet Girl I would liken you To a night without stars Were it not for your eyes. I would liken you To a sleep without dreams Were it not for your songs.

Langston Hughes