On Langston Hughes – Black History Month Tribute to a Great Poet

My favorite poem of Langston Hughes is “Mother to Son”. I read the poem during a ballet dedicated to the great Harlem Renaissance poet. The poem resonated with many grandmothers in the audience that evening and I will never forget Ella Mae who came up to me and told me her story. She struggled to make ends meet when her husband died tragically and she was left with three little boys. She was the daughter of a share cropper and never learned to read. But her dream was to see her sons go to school and become professionals. Her eldest became an attorney and the other two sons were both doctors. She finally learned to read at the age of 70 when she enrolled in an adult literacy program. How she managed was a miracle. She said her own children never realized she was not literate. The reason she shared all of this with me was because her favorite poet was Langston Hughes. He was one of the first poets introduced to her by her literacy instructor. This poem is a tribute to all mothers who dream big for their children. I will never forget Ella Mae and her heartwarming story about a mother’s love. Here is a recitation by Langston Hughes himself.

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