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Inspiring Langston Hughes Quotes About Life and Freedom

Looking for some of the most inspiring Langston Hughes quotes?

I’ve compiled a list of some famous quotes and sayings from Langston Hughes, spanning his entire career.

From his iconic poems to his political activism, these quotes really capture the spirit of this great poet.

Who is Langston Hughes?

Born on February 1, 1902 in Joplin, Missouri, Langston Hughes was an American poet, novelist, playwright, and social activist.

He is best known for his insightful and engaging work during the Harlem Renaissance in the 1920s and 30s.

Hughes work often reflected the lives of African Americans and their struggles for civil rights in the early twentieth century.

His work was heavily influenced by jazz music, blues music, and spirituals.

Hughes wrote many poems exploring themes such as racism, identity, poverty, hope and perseverance that still resonate today.

In 1967, Langston passed away due to complications from prostate cancer, but his legacy lives on in the form of these powerful quotes.

Langston Hughes quotes about life and dreams

1. “Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken-winged bird that cannot fly.”

2. “A dream deferred is a dream denied.”

3. “I like to work, read, learn and understand life.”

langston hughes quotes

4. “A world where I dream where black or white, whatever race you be, will share the bounties of the earth and every man is free.”

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

6. “I have discovered that there are ways of getting almost anywhere you want to go if you really want to go.” 

7. “What happens to a dream deferred? Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun? Or does it explode?”

8. “Hold fast to dreams For when dreams go Life is a barren field Frozen with snow.”

Langston Hughes quotes about freedom

9. “When a man starts out to build a world, he starts first with himself.”

10. “There’s never been equality for me, nor freedom in this ‘Homeland’ of the free.”

11. “Frosting freedom is just frosting on somebody else’s cake — and so must be till we learn how to bake.”

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12. “Words like freedom. There are words like Freedom, Sweet and wonderful to say. On my heartstrings freedom sings all day everyday. There are words like Liberty that almost make me cry. If you had known what I know, You would know why.”

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.” 

14. “Freedom is a strong seed planted in a great need.”

Inspiring Langston Hughes quotes remember

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

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

17. “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.” 

18. “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.”

19. “Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.” 

Enjoying these quotes? Also check out these black motivational quotes for more inspiration.

20. “There is a dream in the land. With its back against the wall. To save the dream for one, it must be saved for all.”

21. “My soul has grown deep like the rivers.” 

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

23. “I’m so tired of waiting, aren’t you, for the world to become good and beautiful and kind?”

24. “It’s such a bore being always poor.”

25. “For my best poems were all written when I felt the worst. When I was happy, I didn’t write anything.”

More famous quotes from Langston Hughes

26. “Keep your hand on the plow. Hold on.” 

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27. “Life is a big sea full of many fish. I let down my nets and pulled. I’m still pulling.” 

28. “Humor is laughing at what you haven’t got when you ought to have it.”

29. “There is no color line in death.” 

30. “Negroes – Sweet and docile, Meek, humble, and kind: Beware the day – They change their mind.” 

31. “Certainly there is, for the American Negro artist who can escape the restriction the more advanced among his own group would put upon him, a great field of unused material ready for his art.”

32. “I will not take ‘but’ for an answer.”

33. “When you turn the corner and you run into yourself. Then you know that you have turned all the corners that are left.”

34. “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.”

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

36. “We negro writers, just by being black, have been on the blacklist all our lives. Censorship for us begins at the color line.”

37. “In all my life, I have never been free. I have never been able to do anything with freedom, except in the field of my writing.”

Final thoughts

Langston Hughes was a wise poet and novelist who dedicated his life to depicting the struggles faced by black Americans in the early 20s and 30s.

His words continue to be powerful reminders that freedom is something worth fighting for and never giving up.

Freedom is not just a word, but an ideal that can bring hope and inspiration to all who seek it.

May the words of Langston Hughes inspire us to listen, to act, and to never forget that freedom is a universal right.

No matter what obstacles stand in our way, let us take inspiration from these Langston Hughes quotes and strive every day to create a world where liberty rings true.

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