Mother Poems: The Negro Mother - Poem by Langston Hughes

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The Negro Mother - Poem by Langston Hughes

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.

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 Reply

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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. Reply

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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 Reply

    0 person liked.
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  • Danielle 4/11/2019 4:34:00 PM

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

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

    lol all dislikes

    6 person liked.
    6 person did not like.
  • Marjorie 2/11/2019 6:57:00 PM

    The poem is beautiful and true. Dark children press onward Reply

    9 person liked.
    2 person did not like.
  • Don Meehan 1/4/2019 10:43:00 AM

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

    8 person liked.
    2 person did not like.
  • Betty McDougle 12/3/2018 11:28:00 PM

    Lovely poem.So sad but true Reply

    7 person liked.
    2 person did not like.
  • JJJJJJJJJJJJJ 3/20/2018 12:46:00 PM


    4 person liked.
    15 person did not like.
  • 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. Reply

    7 person liked.
    2 person did not like.
Read all 35 comments »
Mother Poems
  1. 1. Mother To Son
    Langston Hughes
  2. 2. The Negro Mother
    Langston Hughes
  3. 3. The Mother
    Gwendolyn Brooks
  4. 4. In Memory Of My Mother
    Patrick Kavanagh
  5. 5. Mother Doesn'T Want A Dog
    Judith Viorst
  6. 6. A Bronzeville Mother Loiters In Mississi..
    Gwendolyn Brooks
  7. 7. To My Mother
    Edgar Allan Poe
  8. 8. Mother O' Mine
    Rudyard Kipling
  9. 9. The Sad Mother
    Gabriela Mistral
  10. 10. Some Advice From A Mother To Her Married..
    Judith Viorst
  11. 11. My Mother
    Claude McKay
  12. 12. I Ask My Mother To Sing
    Li-Young Lee
  13. 13. What A Mother Should Be
    carlisa smith
  14. 14. To My Mother
    George Barker
  15. 15. Mother And Poet
    Elizabeth Barrett Browning
  16. 16. Child And Mother
    Eugene Field
  17. 17. Ah, Woe Is Me, My Mother Dear
    Robert Burns
  18. 18. Mother, Among The Dustbins
    Stevie Smith
  19. 19. Fawn's Foster-Mother
    Robinson Jeffers
  20. 20. Mom (Mother Mother Mother Mother Mother)
    Udiah (witness to Yah)
  21. 21. Prayer For A New Mother
    Dorothy Parker
  22. 22. My Mother
    Francis Ledwidge
  23. 23. My Mother Was Fortune, My Father Generos..
    Mewlana Jalaluddin Rumi
  24. 24. Mother And Babe
    Walt Whitman
  25. 25. Sonnet To My Mother
    George Barker
  26. 26. Young Mother
    Robert William Service
  27. 27. The Chimney-Sweeper: When My Mother Died..
    William Blake
  28. 28. Mother Nature
    Lovina Sylvia Chidi
  29. 29. The Mother
    Lucy Maud Montgomery
  30. 30. To My Mother
    Robert Louis Stevenson
  31. 31. A Mother Gazes Upon Her Daughter
    Henry Timrod
  32. 32. Nature The Gentlest Mother Is
    Emily Dickinson
  33. 33. Mother And Child
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  34. 34. Pensive On Her Dead Gazing, I Heard The ..
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  35. 35. A Young Child And His Pregnant Mother
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  36. 36. O Germany, Pale Mother!
    Bertolt Brecht
  37. 37. Monologue Of A Mother
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  38. 38. The Virgin Mother
    David Herbert Lawrence
  39. 39. Mother On Mothers Day
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  40. 40. Mother, I Cannot Mind My Wheel
    Walter Savage Landor
  41. 41. Nature, The Gentlest Mother,
    Emily Dickinson
  42. 42. 00 - My Mother
    Vikram G. Aarella
  43. 43. To Mother
    Marina Ivanovna Tsvetaeva
  44. 44. Our Mother Pocahontas
    Vachel Lindsay
  45. 45. To: An African Mother, From: A Malnouris..
    .Pd. is here
  46. 46. Mother Earth
    Henry Van Dyke
  47. 47. His Mother
    Isabella Valancy Crawford
  48. 48. The Mother Mourns
    Thomas Hardy
  49. 49. The Mother Of A Poet
    Sara Teasdale
  50. 50. The Mother
    Robert William Service

New Mother Poems

  1. Mother, Nayan Das
  2. Earthanthem, Indira Renganathan
  3. Buried Soul, Arun Maji
  4. Mother(Mother' Day 2020), Prabir Gayen
  5. M. O. T. H. E. R, Jullz Poetry
  6. Mother And Mother Nature, Upendra Majhi
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Mother Poems

  1. In Memory Of My Mother

    I do not think of you lying in the wet clay Of a Monaghan graveyard; I see You walking down a lane among the poplars On your way to the station, or happily Going to second Mass on a summer Sunday - You meet me and you say: 'Don't forget to see about the cattle - ' Among your earthiest words the angels stray. And I think of you walking along a headland Of green oats in June, So full of repose, so rich with life - And I see us meeting at the end of a town On a fair day by accident, after The bargains are all made and we can walk Together through the shops and stalls and markets Free in the oriental streets of thought. O you are not lying in the wet clay, For it is a harvest evening now and we Are piling up the ricks against the moonlight And you smile up at us - eternally.

  2. Mother To Son

    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— Bare. 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.

  3. Mother Doesn'T Want A Dog

    Mother doesn't want a dog. Mother says they smell, And never sit when you say sit, Or even when you yell. And when you come home late at night And there is ice and snow, You have to go back out because The dumb dog has to go. Mother doesn't want a dog. Mother says they shed, And always let the strangers in And bark at friends instead, And do disgraceful things on rugs, And track mud on the floor, And flop upon your bed at night And snore their doggy snore. Mother doesn't want a dog. She's making a mistake. Because, more than a dog, I think She will not want this snake.

  4. The Mother

    Abortions will not let you forget. You remember the children you got that you did not get, The damp small pulps with a little or with no hair, The singers and workers that never handled the air. You will never neglect or beat Them, or silence or buy with a sweet. You will never wind up the sucking-thumb Or scuttle off ghosts that come. You will never leave them, controlling your luscious sigh, Return for a snack of them, with gobbling mother-eye. I have heard in the voices of the wind the voices of my dim killed children. I have contracted. I have eased My dim dears at the breasts they could never suck. I have said, Sweets, if I sinned, if I seized Your luck And your lives from your unfinished reach, If I stole your births and your names, Your straight baby tears and your games, Your stilted or lovely loves, your tumults, your marriages, aches, and your deaths, If I poisoned the beginnings of your breaths, Believe that even in my deliberateness I was not deliberate. Though why should I whine, Whine that the crime was other than mine?-- Since anyhow you are dead. Or rather, or instead, You were never made. But that too, I am afraid, Is faulty: oh, what shall I say, how is the truth to be said? You were born, you had body, you died. It is just that you never giggled or planned or cried. Believe me, I loved you all. Believe me, I knew you, though faintly, and I loved, I loved you All.