Today is Langston Hughes‘ birthday. He would have been 113 years old. It is also the first day of the Black History Month celebration in the US. I’ve always wondered whether Americans also have Latin History Month, Native American History Month, and so on? Because if one month is set aside to commemorate Black History, then what other history is commemorated in the other 11 months of the year? Then again, that’s just my issue with commemoration, it is the best way to forget – but that’s a story for another day.
So Google did a Doodle paying tribute to Hughes, whose work inspired many an author, singer, artist and activist during the Harlem Renaissance and beyond. I wanted to post one of his great poems in celebration of this man and none other resonated with me as much as the one on the Google Doodle, I Dream A World. The words are as much important now, as they were then. We are still struggling with equality on so many fronts, especially race and gender. Perhaps confronting Hughes’ dream and aligning it to our own today will remind us of our achievements and spur us on to continue doing our best to get to that world that he, and we, dream of.
I dream a world where man
No other man will scorn,
Where love will bless the earth
And peace its paths adorn
I dream a world where all
Will know sweet freedom’s way,
Where greed no longer saps the soul
Nor avarice blights our day.
A world I dream where black or white,
Whatever race you be,
Will share the bounties of the earth
And every man is free,
Where wretchedness will hang its head
And joy, like a pearl,
Attends the needs of all mankind-
Of such I dream, my world!
And this is the Google Doodle:
Image of Langston Hughes taken from NewRepublic.com