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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

"I, Too" is a poem written by Langston Hughes that demonstrates a yearning for equality through perseverance while disproving the idea that patriotism is limited by race. It was first published in March 1925 in a special issue of the magazine Survey Graphic, titled Harlem: Mecca of the New Negro. It was later reprinted in Hughes' first volume of poetry, The Weary Blues in 1926. This poem, along with other works by Hughes, helped define the Harlem Renaissance, a period in the early 1920s and '30s of newfound cultural identity for blacks in America who had discovered the power of literature, art, music, and poetry as a means of personal and collective expression in the scope of civil rights.[1] In the poem, Hughes describes a ubiquitous racial oppression that degrades African Americans at the time. He writes from the perspective of an inferior servant to a domineering white family that shoos him away to the kitchen whenever company arrives.

Hughes ties together the sense of the unity that U.S. President Abraham Lincoln spoke about regarding the separate and diverse parts of the American democracy (the coexistence of slavery and freedom) "by beginning his poem with a near direct reference to Walt Whitman." [2]


I, too, sing America.

I am the darker brother.
They send me to eat in the kitchen
When company comes,
But I laugh,
And eat well,
And grow strong.

I'll be at the table
When company comes.
Nobody'll dare
Say to me
"Eat in the kitchen,"

They'll see how beautiful I am
And be ashamed-

I, too, am America.


  1. ^ Staff. "Harlem Renaissance". History. A + E Networks. Retrieved 2019-02-20.
  2. ^ Ward, David C. (September 22, 2016). "What Langston Hughes' Powerful Poem "I, Too" Tells Us About America's Past and Present". Smithsonian. Retrieved 2019-02-20.

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This page was last edited on 13 August 2020, at 17:54
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