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Inspirational Quotes

50 Langston Hughes Quotes from his Poems About Dreams

langston hughes quotes

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Langston Hughes was an American poet, social activist, novelist, and playwright who’s best known as a leader of the Harlem Renaissance in New York City.

Born on February 1, 1902, in Joplin, Missouri, Hughes moved to New York City as a young man, where he made his career. He published his first poem in 1921 and his first book in 1926.

Hughes’ work and life played an important role in shaping the artistic contributions of the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s. Known for his insightful, colorful portrayals of black life in America, he told the stories of his people in ways that reflected their actual culture, including their suffering as well as their love of music, laughter, and language itself.

Langston Hughes died on May 22, 1967, from complications of prostate cancer. In his memory, his home on East 127th Street in Harlem was given landmark status by the New York City Preservation Commission.

Here are some inspirational Langston Hughes quotes that will motivate you to go after your dreams no matter how unattainable others might think they are.


Langston Hughes quotes from his poems about dreams


1.) “A dream deferred is a dream denied.” – Langston Hughes


langston hughes quotes about life


2.) “Hold fast to dreams
For when dreams go
Life is a barren field
Frozen with snow.” – Langston Hughes


3.) “To fling my arms wide
In some place of the sun,
To whirl and to dance
Till the white day is done.
Then rest at cool evening
Beneath a tall tree
While night comes on gently,
Dark like me—
That is my dream!” – Langston Hughes


4.) “What happens to a dream deferred? Does it dry up Like a raisin in the sun?… Or does it explode?” – Langston Hughes



5.) “Life is for the living.
Death is for the dead.
Let life be like music.
And death a note unsaid.” ― Langston Hughes


6.) “Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken-winged bird that cannot fly.” – Langston Hughes


7.) ”As I learn from you,
I guess you learn from me—
although you’re older—and white—
and somewhat more free.” – Langston Hughes


8.) “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


9.) “For all the dreams we’ve dreamed
And all the songs we’ve sung
And all the hopes we’ve held
And all the flags we’ve hung,
The millions who have nothing for our pay —
Except for the dream that’s almost dead today.” – Langston Hughes


10.) “My motto,
As I live and learn,
Dig And Be Dug
In Return.” – Langston Hughes


Langston Hughes quotes that will inspire and motivate


11.) “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


12.) “When the night winds whistle through the trees and blow the crisp brown leaves a-crackling down,
When the autumn moon is big and yellow-orange and round,
When old Jack Frost is sparkling on the ground,
It’s Thanksgiving Time!” – Langston Hughes


13.) “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


14.) “I live on a park bench.
You, Park Avenue.
Hell of a distance
Between us two.” – Langston Hughes


15.) “Well, I like to eat, sleep, drink, and be in love.

I like to work, read, learn, and understand life.” ― Langston Hughes


langston hughes quotes on learning


16.) “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


17.) “I will not take ‘but’ for an answer. Negroes have been looking at democracy’s ‘but’ too long.” – Langston Hughes


18.) “I stuck my head out the window this morning and spring kissed me bang in the face.” ― Langston Hughes


19.) “The past has been a mint Of blood and sorrow. That must not be True of tomorrow.” – Langston Hughes


20.) ”They’ll see how beautiful I am
And be ashamed—

I, too, am America.” – Langston Hughes


Langston Hughes quotes on life and love


21.) “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


22.) “I swear to the Lord, I still can’t see why democracy means everybody but me. ” ― Langston Hughes


23.) “The calm, Cool face of the river, Asked me for a kiss” ― Langston Hughes


24.) “To some people
Love is given,
To others
Only Heaven.” – Langston Hughes


25.) “When a man starts out to build a world, He starts first with himself.” – Langston Hughes


26.) “When peoples care for you and cry for you, they can straighten out your soul.” – Langston Hughes


27.) ”Night coming tenderly
Black like me.” – Langston Hughes


28.) “Life is an egg you have to be patient and careful with it or it will break” – Langston Hughes


29.) “Gather up In the arms of your love—Those who expect No love from above.” – Langston Hughes


30.) “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


31.) “Life doesn’t frighten me at all.” – Langston Hughes


langston hughes quotes on life


32.) “I’ve been scared and battered. My hopes the wind done scattered. Snow has frozen me, Sun has baked me, Looks like between ’em they done Tried to make me Stop laughin’, stop lovin’, stop livin’– But I don’t care! I’m still here!” – Langston Hughes


Langston Hughes quotes on humor and happiness


33.) “Like a welcome summer rain, humor may suddenly cleanse and cool the earth, the air and you.” – Langston Hughes


34.) “Humor is laughing at what you haven’t got when you ought to have it … what you wish in your secret heart were not funny, but it is, and you must laugh. Humor is your own unconscious therapy. Like a welcome summer rain, humor may suddenly cleanse and cool the earth, the air, and you.” – Langston Hughes


35.) “Whiskey just naturally likes me but beer likes me better.” – Langston Hughes


36.) “The night is beautiful,
So are the faces of my people.” – Langston Hughes


37.) “The stars went out and so did the moon.
The singer stopped playing and went to bed
While the Weary Blues echoed through his head.
He slept like a rock or a man that’s dead.” – Langston Hughes


38.) “When you turn the corner
And you run into yourself
Then you know that you have turned
All the corners that are left.” – Langston Hughes


39.) “You see, books had been happening to me.” – Langston Hughes


langston hughes quotes on learning


40.) “You talk like they
don’t kick dreams
around downtown.” – Langston Hughes


Other inspirational Langston Hughes quotes


41.) “My soul has grown deep like the rivers.” – Langston Hughes


42.) “Perhaps the mission of an artist is to interpret beauty to people—the beauty within themselves.” – Langston Hughes


43.) “To fling my arms wide
In the face of the sun,
Dance! Whirl! Whirl!
Till the quick day is done.
Rest at pale evening . . .
A tall, slim tree . . .
Night coming tenderly
Black like me.” – Langston Hughes


44.) “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


45.) “Oh, God of Dust and Rainbows,
Help us to see
That without the dust the rainbow
Would not be.” ― Langston Hughes


46.) “Good morning, Revolution: You’re the very best friend I ever had. We gonna pal around together from now on”
Langston Hughes


47.) “I must never write when I do not want to write.” – Langston Hughes


langston hughes quotes on doing what you want


48.) ”“Looks like what drives me crazy
Dont have no effect on you–
But Im gonna keep on at it
Till it drives you crazy, too.” ” – Langston Hughes


49.) “Politics can be the graveyard of the poet. And only poetry can be his resurrection.” – Langston Hughes


50.) “The sea is a desert of waves,
A wilderness of water.” – Langston Hughes


Which of these Langston Hughes quotes was your favorite?


Although Langston Hughes died in 1967, volumes of his work continue to be published and translated around the world.

Hughes will always be remembered for the important role he played in the Harlem Renaissance and for his portrayal of the African American experience. Hopefully, these quotes have motivated you to fight for your dreams and live your best life.

Did you enjoy these Langston Hughes quotes? Which of the quotes was your favorite? We would love to hear all about it in the comment section below.


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