poet Langston Hughes

Langston Hughes

#6 on top 500 poets

The Negro Mother

Children, I come back today
To tell you a story of the long dark way
That I had to climb, that I had to know
In order that the race might live and grow.
Look at my face - dark as the night -
Yet shining like the sun with love's true light.
I am the dark girl who crossed the red sea
Carrying in my body the seed of the free.
I am the woman who worked in the field
Bringing the cotton and the corn to yield.
I am the one who labored as a slave,
Beaten and mistreated for the work that I gave -
Children sold away from me, I'm husband sold, too.
No safety, no love, no respect was I due.

Three hundred years in the deepest South:
But God put a song and a prayer in my mouth.
God put a dream like steel in my soul.
Now, through my children, I'm reaching the goal.

Now, through my children, young and free,
I realized the blessing deed to me.
I couldn't read then. I couldn't write.
I had nothing, back there in the night.
Sometimes, the valley was filled with tears,
But I kept trudging on through the lonely years.
Sometimes, the road was hot with the sun,
But I had to keep on till my work was done:
I had to keep on! No stopping for me -
I was the seed of the coming Free.
I nourished the dream that nothing could smother
Deep in my breast - the Negro mother.
I had only hope then, but now through you,
Dark ones of today, my dreams must come true:
All you dark children in the world out there,
Remember my sweat, my pain, my despair.
Remember my years, heavy with sorrow -
And make of those years a torch for tomorrow.
Make of my pass a road to the light
Out of the darkness, the ignorance, the night.
Lift high my banner out of the dust.
Stand like free men supporting my trust.
Believe in the right, let none push you back.
Remember the whip and the slaver's track.
Remember how the strong in struggle and strife
Still bar you the way, and deny you life -
But march ever forward, breaking down bars.
Look ever upward at the sun and the stars.
Oh, my dark children, may my dreams and my prayers
Impel you forever up the great stairs -
For I will be with you till no white brother
Dares keep down the children of the Negro Mother.

Topic(s) of this poem: mother

Poem Submitted: Friday, January 3, 2003
Poem Edited: Thursday, December 18, 2014

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Comments about The Negro Mother by Langston Hughes

  • Asitha Anil (11/12/2020 5:09:00 AM)

    Thanks for this poem
    I have choose it as my poem for recitation

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  • Aleatrice Carlos (10/29/2020 10:42:00 AM)

    My Mother taught my Son this poem when he was 4 years old but thought it was called theBlack Mother

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  • DVJohnson (9/5/2020 10:46:00 AM)

    So, astonishingly profound how long ago Langston Hughes crafted this poem referencing Negro mothers' pain of " 300 yrs" , and the words are so poignantly relevant today in 2020.

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  • Petrucci Taliaferro (6/14/2020 2:55:00 PM)

    Emotion evoking as the date is different but the struggle is still the same 6/14/2020

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  • Danielle (4/11/2019 4:34:00 PM)

    I remember. Remembering gives me air when I need a deep breath.

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    GOTEEMMM(4/17/2019 1:25:00 PM)

    lol all dislikes

    6 person liked.
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  • Marjorie (2/11/2019 6:57:00 PM)

    The poem is beautiful and true. Dark children press onward

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    9 person liked.
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  • Don Meehan (1/4/2019 10:43:00 AM)

    I would like to say that I think this poem is beautiful and moving.

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    8 person liked.
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  • Betty McDougle (12/3/2018 11:28:00 PM)

    Lovely poem.So sad but true

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    7 person liked.
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  • JJJJJJJJJJJJJ (3/20/2018 12:46:00 PM)

    IIIIIIIKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKK

    Already Reported Reply
    4 person liked.
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  • Rikilaye (3/14/2018 5:14:00 AM)

    moving in many places and elicits a range of feelings in the sensitive reader. One thing I'll remember is the sacrifice and pride; the hope and promise of a better tomorrow that you paved the way for. It's a shame that the GOP can't relate to this and share the universal dream.

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    7 person liked.
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  • K Williams (2/28/2018 4:35:00 PM)

    I had to memorize and recite this poem when I was a 6th grader and I still know it. I was in sixth grade in 1961!

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    8 person liked.
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  • anushka (2/15/2018 10:15:00 AM)

    i want poem on dialogue

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    5 person liked.
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  • Jerilean Amos (2/10/2018 11:26:00 AM)

    Love this pome, this touches deep within my soul

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    7 person liked.
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  • zoe pearl ikpe (1/31/2018 6:09:00 PM)

    So good I recited this in school last year

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    3 person liked.
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  • kade Iervolino (1/4/2018 9:35:00 AM)

    wow wow wow wow wow wow wow wow wow wow wow wow

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    2 person liked.
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  • Johnny T Parker (11/15/2017 11:06:00 PM)

    That was deeper than a flesh wound so respectfully spoken.

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    5 person liked.
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  • Leilani Hardmon -White (11/30/2016 6:36:00 PM)

    Very strong and powerfulfilling

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    14 person liked.
    3 person did not like.
  • Denise Marshall (9/10/2016 10:19:00 AM)

    Beautiful!

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    15 person liked.
    2 person did not like.
  • Ahmed Gumaa SiddiekAhmed Gumaa Siddiek (7/23/2016 7:45:00 AM)

    was the seed of the coming Free.
    I nourished the dream that nothing could smother
    Deep in my breast - the Negro mother.
    I had only hope then, but now through you,
    Dark ones of today, my dreams must come true:

    Yes Mom, Your dreams have at lastt came true. The master in the White House red your advice and worked towards it and did.

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    9 person liked.
    12 person did not like.
  • Zwelethu Siwaphiwe ShweniZwelethu Siwaphiwe Shweni (5/31/2016 4:13:00 AM)

    Very touching, 'The Negro Mother' Well articulated by you Langston

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    11 person liked.
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