Langston Hughes

Joplin, Missouri


Langston Hughes was born in Joplin, Missouri in 1902. When he was a young child, his parents divorced. He was raised by his grandmother until he was 13, when he moved to Chicago, Illinois to live with his mother. During the time he was in college, he held many odd jobs like being a cook, and launderer.

Langston Hughes wrote novels, short stories, plays, and poetry. He was one of the best known poets of the Harlem Renaissance. He was also known for having musical rhythm to his poetry.


Well, son, I’ll tell you:
Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.
It’s had tacks in it,
And splinters,
And boards torn up,
And places with no carpet on the floor—
But all the time
I’se been a-climbin’ on,
And reachin’ landin’s,
And turnin’ corners,
And sometimes goin’ in the dark
Where there ain’t been no light.
So boy, don’t you turn back.
Don’t you set down on the steps
'Cause you finds it’s kinder hard.
Don’t you fall now—
For I’se still goin’, honey,
I’se still climbin’,
And life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.