“Let America Be America Again”

The acclaimed American poet, Nikki Giovanni, reads Langston Hughes’ poem, “Let America be America Again.”  A key figure in the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s and 1930s, Hughes, like Du Bois, explored the contradictions, the double consciousness, of being black and American.  This piece on the American Dream refrains “America was never America to me.”

An excerpt from the poem is reprinted in Tidal:

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3 responses to ““Let America Be America Again”

  1. This was actually my first time ever hearing this poem and i found it to be a very good one which makes so much sense. It captures and points out different kinds of people in America and how they arent as free as people in America should be. Many different lines stould out to me in this poem like the line saying “the worker married to the machine, the African American as a servant etc.” I really liked how not only one group of people were focused on but how all different wokers of all different races were mentioned. what also stould out to me was the line saying how dreams are crushed or never reached. This poem really does explain how we once thought of America as “the land of the free” isnt really actually all that free.

  2. rosemarieangeline

    This is a great poem that points out America really isn’t all what it intended to be. No one ever intended for a person to scheme over another. This isn’t a poem just about the oppression of African Americans but how many are oppressed which makes it very appealing to me because many different people are oppressed in what is supposed to be America the Land of the free.

  3. This poem is extremely powerful. It makes one question what we stand for as a country. We always pride ourselves on being the “home of the free” and the land of opportunity, but this poem makes us wonder who that ideal applies to. We like to believe that the foundation of our country is full of promise and inspiration, but Langston Hughes shows us that that was not a guarantee for every man. Blacks were not offered the opportunities promised to most of the nation, and unfortunately that reality holds true today for various minorities throughout the country. If we want to be a country of true morals and authentic beliefs, it’s time to start practicing what we preach.

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