By: Tia Love
Harlem (A Dream Deferred)
What happens to a dream deferred? Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun? or fester like a sore-- and then run? Does it stink like rotten meat? or crust and sugar over-- like a syrupy sweet? Maybe it just sags like a heavy load. Or does it explode?
If you have never had the pleasure of reading those words, feast your eyes on a small representation of the literary artist known as Langston Hughes. “Harlem,” better known as “A Dream Deferred,” is perhaps one of Langston Hughes’ greatest pieces of work.
Its a poem I was introduced to in my junior year of high school, and although our time spent learning about the Harlem Renaissance was brief, those words stuck with me forever. And as I got older and ventured into the world of the Harlem Renaissance on my own, I fell in love with this literary connoisseur.
He had a way with words. The characters he created could make you laugh and cry in the same breath. He used his writing to shine a bright, uncomfortable light on the harsh realities of Black life in America at that time.
Langston Hughes has an entire catalgue of work full of things to satisfy any reader. If you are ever studying the Harlem Renaissance or trying to gain more insight to black life and black writers, I believe Hughes is where you should start. He has novels, short stories, poetry collections, plays, and non-fiction that provide a proper discourse on the injustices of Black life.