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Thursday, November 2, 2023

Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken-winged bird that cannot fly.

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Langston Hughes

Langston Hughes was a poet, novelist, playwright, and columnist who became one of the leaders of the Harlem Renaissance, a movement of the 1920s and ’30s that focused on the intellectual and cultural revival of African American artistry, encompassing everything from literature to dance to fashion. Artistically, Hughes was perhaps best known as an early innovator of jazz poetry, of which he published several collections. This quote comes from one such poem, entitled “Dreams.” As a social activist, Hughes wrote an influential weekly column for “The Chicago Defender,” one of the leading Black newspapers at the time. In 1926, he penned “The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain,” a landmark essay that became something of a manifesto for the Harlem Renaissance. In it, he identified the movement’s goals and dreams, writing, “We build our temples for tomorrow, strong as we know how, and we stand on top of the mountain, free within ourselves.”

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