The Negro Speaks of Rivers


TheNegro Speaks of Rivers

“TheNegro Speaks of Rivers” by Langston Hughes

“TheNegro Speaks of Rivers” is a poem written by Langston Hughes. Thepoem highlights the struggles that were faced by the African Americanpopulation during the course of United States history. It is a rareperspective because the majority of accounts of minority hardshipshave come in the form of chapters in history books. The view thatLangston Hughes provides is intimate and in-depth. Hughes was awriter of the Harlem renaissance and Jazz Age and, in his works heused the talents of his pen to present a view of African Americanexperience that transcended a primary focus on the struggle. This isexemplified in his work “”. This poempresents a theme of pride in the roots of African American existencewhich is why it is relevance in the communication.

Aboutthe Theme of Roots

Themain theme in the poem which is root has been clearly put forward bythe author. The author uses the element of imagery to present histheme of roots. It is evident that the author does not refer torivers in real sense in the first stanza of the poem, but ratherrefers to the origin or the roots of mankind (Hughes, 2011). It isalso evident that the author considers or views the comparison of theriver and the veins as a perfect comparison since the veins are anessential part of the human body. Reading the poem clearly indicateshow the author believes in the depth of the roots or the veins to thehuman body. The author insists on the depth of the roots and theirsignificance to the African Americans. On the same light, the authorconsiders veins to be deep rooted into the heart and to be essentialfor humans (Hughes, 2011).

Theauthor of the poem continues to clearly explain the differentexperiences that the African Americans got in Africa and also in theUnited States. It is evident from the poem that the author seeks tomake the point that the life of the African Americans was better inAfrica than it was in the United States. For instance, Hughes statesthat the African Americans bathed in the Euphrates and built housesnear Congo (Hughes, 2011). In other words, it can clearly be seenfrom the poem that the author has a personal connection with thesituation that the African Americans go through.

Itis imperative to note that the author of the poem seems to befamiliar with a number of places including Africa and the UnitedStates. The description of the rivers, the hill and the forest inAfrica indicates how well versed the author is with the region.Additionally, the author is also familiar with the United States. Itis easy to deduce that each of the rivers in Africa is representingthe roots of the African Americas.

Thework and the points highlighted by the author are extremely vital.They are a reminder of how African Americans were oppressed andtortured by the white people. The piece of work highlights the plightthat the African Americans went through. Minority ethnic groups thatwere disadvantaged were the black people from Africa (Hughes, 2011).This piece of work and the ideas and points highlighted by the authorare crucial in ensuring that the black community continues to fightfor their rights. It is also essential to realize that the poemhighlights the origin or the roots of the African Americans. This isextremely vital for the Africans in the United States who may opt togo back to their countries. Although the entire poem uses imagery todescribe the roots of the African Americans, the meaning and theideas that the author wants to portray are extremely clear.


Hughes,L. (2011). . AmericanLiterature Since the Civil War.&nbspCreate edition. McGraw-Hil. 12. e-Book.

Related Posts

© All Right Reserved