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?

-- Langston Hughes

Langston Hughes was born February 1, 1902. He is remembered as a poet and author who was a leading voice in the 1920's Harlem Renaissance - a burgeoning Black arts movement in New York. He had always been a writer - getting his poems published in his high school's literary magazine and other poetry publications throughout his youth. When Hughes moved to New York in 1921, he was pursuing his writing and enrolled at Columbia University. But, he dropped out a year later and found a job working as a crewman on a freighter. He spent years traveling around the world, working odd jobs and developing his poetry. Throughout his life he wrote countless works of poetry, along with operasshort storiesplaysnovelschildren's storiesessays and newspapers columns. He went on to obtain a scholarship from Lincoln University in Pennsylvania and began to gain a wider audience and appeal. By the time he graduated from Lincoln in 1929, his writing style was established as well as his commitment to using his voice to speak to Black issues and conditions. He, along with his contemporaries in the Harlem Renaissance, made a point to speak to the lower strata of Black people - focusing their art on opposing their social conditions, confronting stereotypes, and re-imagining Black people's image of themselves. His cultural nationalism and racial consciousness was a great influence to many Black writers who followed in his footsteps. Today we celebrate Hughes on what would have been his 113th birthday. We remember his words, his legacy, his commitment to his art and his people, and his unwavering belief in the value and beauty of all Black lives.