Langston Hughes was a poet, social activist, novelist, playwright, and a columnist, but he is best known for his jazz poetry. He had a rough childhood, from his father leaving his family because of the racism in the US to his mom leaving him with his grandma just so she could find a job to support their family. His rough childhood and the racial pride instilled in him by his mother are the two main factors that made Hughes the poet he became. Hughes spent the majority of his childhood in Lawrence, Kansas with his grandma.
In high school, Hughes was elected class poet, but he credits this to the stereotype of blacks having better rhythm than most, especially since he was one of two black students in his class. Langston Hughes was inspired by the work of Walt Whitman. Some scholars believe that Hughes was gay and left “codes” in his poetry in a fashion that Whitman used in his own work. His work stretched from a variety of plays to novels, but he was best known for his poetry. His poetry had influences of folk and jazz rhythms. Most of his work showed the true way that blacks of low social statuses lived. He had a lot of racial pride, and he wanted to lift his people up and strengthen them though his art form.