25 Langston Hughes Quotes from his Poems About Dreams (2022)

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Looking for the best Langston Hughes quotes that will motivate you to pursue your goals and dreams?

Langston Hughes was an American poet, social activist, novelist, and playwright who’s best known for being a leader of the Harlem Renaissance in New York City.

Born on February 1, 1902, in Joplin, Missouri, Hughes moved to New York City as a young man, where he made his career. He published his first poem in 1921 and his first book in 1926.

Hughes’ work and life played an important role in shaping the artistic contributions of the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s. Known for his insightful, colorful portrayals of black life in America, he told the stories of his people in ways that reflected their actual culture, including their suffering as well as their love of music, laughter, and language itself.

Langston Hughes died on May 22, 1967, from complications of prostate cancer. In his memory, his home on East 127th Street in Harlem was given landmark status by the New York City Preservation Commission.

Here are some inspirational Langston Hughes quotes and Langston Hughes sayings that will motivate you to go after your dreams, no matter how unattainable others might think they are. When finished, check out our collection of Gustave Flaubert quotes as well.

Langston Hughes quotes from his poems about dreams

1. “A dream deferred is a dream denied.” – Langston Hughes

langston hughes quotes about life

2. “Hold fast to dreams
For when dreams go
Life is a barren field
Frozen with snow.” – Langston Hughes

3. “To fling my arms wide
In some place of the sun,
To whirl and to dance
Till the white day is done.
Then rest at cool evening
Beneath a tall tree
While night comes on gently,
Dark like me—
That is my dream!” – Langston Hughes

4. “What happens to a dream deferred? Does it dry up Like a raisin in the sun?… Or does it explode?” – Langston Hughes

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

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

7. ”As I learn from you,
I guess you learn from me—
although you’re older—and white—
and somewhat more free.” – Langston Hughes

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

9. “For all the dreams we’ve dreamed
And all the songs we’ve sung
And all the hopes we’ve held
And all the flags we’ve hung,
The millions who have nothing for our pay —
Except for the dream that’s almost dead today.” – Langston Hughes

10. “My motto,
As I live and learn,
Dig And Be Dug
In Return.” – Langston Hughes

Langston Hughes quotes that will inspire and motivate

11. “Let the rain kiss you. Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops. Let the rain sing you a lullaby.” – Langston Hughes

12. “When the night winds whistle through the trees and blow the crisp brown leaves a-crackling down,
When the autumn moon is big and yellow-orange and round,
When old Jack Frost is sparkling on the ground,
It’s Thanksgiving Time!” – Langston Hughes

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.” – Langston Hughes

14. “I live on a park bench.
You, Park Avenue.
Hell of a distance
Between us two.” – Langston Hughes

15. “Well, I like to eat, sleep, drink, and be in love.

I like to work, read, learn, and understand life.” ― Langston Hughes

langston hughes quotes on learning

16. “I have discovered in life that there are ways of getting almost anywhere you want to go, if you really want to go.” – Langston Hughes

17. “I will not take ‘but’ for an answer. Negroes have been looking at democracy’s ‘but’ too long.” – Langston Hughes

18. “I stuck my head out the window this morning and spring kissed me bang in the face.” ― Langston Hughes

19. “The past has been a mint Of blood and sorrow. That must not be True of tomorrow.” – Langston Hughes

20. ”They’ll see how beautiful I am
And be ashamed—

I, too, am America.” – Langston Hughes

Langston Hughes quotes on life and love

21. “So since I’m still here livin’,
I guess I will live on.
I could’ve died for love–
But for livin’ I was born.” – Langston Hughes

22. “I swear to the Lord, I still can’t see why democracy means everybody but me. ” ― Langston Hughes

23. “The calm, Cool face of the river, Asked me for a kiss” ― Langston Hughes

24. “To some people
Love is given,
To others
Only Heaven.” – Langston Hughes

25. “When a man starts out to build a world, He starts first with himself.” – Langston Hughes

Which of these Langston Hughes quotes was your favorite?

Although Langston Hughes died in 1967, volumes of his work continue to be published and translated around the world.

Hughes will always be remembered for the important role he played in the Harlem Renaissance and for his portrayal of the African American experience. Hopefully, these Langston Hughes quotes have motivated you to fight for your dreams and live your best life.

Did you enjoy these Langston Hughes quotes? Which of the quotes was your favorite? We would love to hear all about it in the comment section below. Also, don’t forget to share with your friends and followers and inspire them.


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