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The United States of America is a country with a lot of history and culture. Different decades have especially marked this nation and the 30s were no exception. Many transcendental events took place, for example on February 18, the American astronomer Clyde Tombaugh discovered the planet Pluto Moreover, on May 1, 1931, the construction of the Empire State Building in New York City was finally completed as it opened for business. On May 27, 1937, The Golden Gate Bridge opened to pedestrian traffic (American Best History, 2019).

Nonetheless, the main event that marked this decade was the economic crisis that this nation had to face. Hebert Hoover was the president a lot of people relate to the Great Depression. Lindop (2009) affirms: “In 1930 U.S. tariffs were already high, but President Hoover wanted to make them higher. If people bought fewer foreign goods and more U.S. ones, he reasoned the U.S. economy would benefit.” (p. 19).

During this harsh period, a man became the voice and the representative of the voices for those people who were afraid to use their own. “James Mercer Langston Hughes, best known as Langston Hughes, was born February 1, 1902, in Missouri, United States” (Poets. org, n. d). He became a well-recognized character in the black inventive, academic, and literary society of the Harlem Renaissance. He distinguished himself for his “insightful, colorful portrayals of black life” (Poets. org, n. d). during his career and positive existence. “Any mention of the American Dream seemed a mockery, but somewhere in the grim landscape, Langston Hughes began writing.” (Attic, 2017, p. 2).

In the beginning, white critics paid no attention to his work while many black intellectuals criticized it. They felt that he should project a positive image of his race by focusing only on the qualities of black people instead of mentioning the struggles and hard times they had to suffer. Nonetheless, Hughes managed to make a living out of his literary work because average people in fact liked his writing. A characteristic that made him stand out was his ability to connect to different people and represent them. Hughes was able to describe situations that the common person could relate to. Furthermore, he truly believed that all humans could learn to live together in harmony, this ideal was not accepted by everyone but many did find it inspiring (The Poetry Foundation, n. d).

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Hughes had a difficult childhood because of the bad relationship that his parents had. Before reaching puberty he had lived in six American cities (The Poetry Foundation, n. d). His grandmother took care of him until he was thirteen years old in Lincon where he started showing his abilities in poetry. “In November 1924, he moved to Washington, D. C. Hughes’s first book of poetry, The Weary Blues” (Poets. org, n. d). and “in 1930 his first novel, Not Without Laughter, won the Harmon gold medal for literature” (Poets. org, n. d). The poem “Let America be great again” was written in 1935 on a train that Hughes boarded from Cleveland to Ohio, it was a time of grief and despair as he had received the unfortunate news that his mother had breast cancer.

Let America Be America Again is a poem of 86 verses written in the first person. The content of the masterpiece is significant to American society and has been mentioned in important events during American history like a campaign slogan used by Senator John Kerry in his presidential campaign in 2004 (Halbfinger, 2004).

Even though the poem did not win any awards, Hughes expressed the unfair life that many American citizens had to overcome. Thanks to the meaningful verses that are found in the poem, Hughes transmits a tone of hope to everyone that sooner or later, the American Dream will become a reality. Motivated by this piece of poetry, the topic I have chosen to analyze is the connection between the poem and American society. To this end, my research question is: How do the themes presented in the poem Let America Be America Again reflect American society in the 1930s? In order to answer the question of this English B category 3 essay, I will analyze three topics that will be explored in different chapters. The first chapter will discuss the American Dream, the second one will address the collapse of the economy and the third one will focus on racism and injustice

The investigation of this topic is important due to the fact that it allows us to have a better understanding of the motivations and struggles that have influenced American citizens.

The primary source that was used for this research is the poem verses, in which Langston Hughes presented his opinion about the American state of affairs in the 1930s. In addition to this, I also used secondary sources such as history books that mention the American circumstances during the 30s and poetry sources found on web pages where people analyze and give their points of view about the poem, like Owl Study. For the first chapter, I used the book The American Dream. A Cultural History by Lawrence R. Samuel, the study of the poem by different people in Owl study, a news article from Daily about the story behind the term “America Dream”. For the collapse of the economy chapter I consider the book “The Great Depression in United States History” and other sources, like the site web HISTORY, that involved newspaper articles. Last but not least in the final chapter I based my investigation of the Jim Crow Laws on the book “Jim Crow Laws Landmarks of the American Mosaic” by Leslie V. Tischauser in order to make a further analysis as well as the site web Modern American Poetry and NJ State Library.

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