Langston Hughes

(1 February 1902 – 22 May 1967 / Missouri)

Let America Be America Again - Poem by Langston Hughes

Let America be America again.
Let it be the dream it used to be.
Let it be the pioneer on the plain
Seeking a home where he himself is free.

(America never was America to me.)

Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed--
Let it be that great strong land of love
Where never kings connive nor tyrants scheme
That any man be crushed by one above.

(It never was America to me.)

O, let my land be a land where Liberty
Is crowned with no false patriotic wreath,
But opportunity is real, and life is free,
Equality is in the air we breathe.

(There's never been equality for me,
Nor freedom in this "homeland of the free.")

Say, who are you that mumbles in the dark?
And who are you that draws your veil across the stars?

I am the poor white, fooled and pushed apart,
I am the Negro bearing slavery's scars.
I am the red man driven from the land,
I am the immigrant clutching the hope I seek--
And finding only the same old stupid plan
Of dog eat dog, of mighty crush the weak.

I am the young man, full of strength and hope,
Tangled in that ancient endless chain
Of profit, power, gain, of grab the land!
Of grab the gold! Of grab the ways of satisfying need!
Of work the men! Of take the pay!
Of owning everything for one's own greed!

I am the farmer, bondsman to the soil.
I am the worker sold to the machine.
I am the Negro, servant to you all.
I am the people, humble, hungry, mean--
Hungry yet today despite the dream.
Beaten yet today--O, Pioneers!
I am the man who never got ahead,
The poorest worker bartered through the years.

Yet I'm the one who dreamt our basic dream
In the Old World while still a serf of kings,
Who dreamt a dream so strong, so brave, so true,
That even yet its mighty daring sings
In every brick and stone, in every furrow turned
That's made America the land it has become.
O, I'm the man who sailed those early seas
In search of what I meant to be my home--
For I'm the one who left dark Ireland's shore,
And Poland's plain, and England's grassy lea,
And torn from Black Africa's strand I came
To build a "homeland of the free."

The free?

Who said the free? Not me?
Surely not me? The millions on relief today?
The millions shot down when we strike?
The millions who have nothing for our pay?
For all the dreams we've dreamed
And all the songs we've sung
And all the hopes we've held
And all the flags we've hung,
The millions who have nothing for our pay--
Except the dream that's almost dead today.

O, let America be America again--
The land that never has been yet--
And yet must be--the land where every man is free.
The land that's mine--the poor man's, Indian's, Negro's, ME--
Who made America,
Whose sweat and blood, whose faith and pain,
Whose hand at the foundry, whose plow in the rain,
Must bring back our mighty dream again.

Sure, call me any ugly name you choose--
The steel of freedom does not stain.
From those who live like leeches on the people's lives,
We must take back our land again,

O, yes,
I say it plain,
America never was America to me,
And yet I swear this oath--
America will be!

Out of the rack and ruin of our gangster death,
The rape and rot of graft, and stealth, and lies,
We, the people, must redeem
The land, the mines, the plants, the rivers.
The mountains and the endless plain--
All, all the stretch of these great green states--
And make America again!

Comments about Let America Be America Again by Langston Hughes

  • (5/12/2019 3:36:00 AM)

    You know Langston Hughes is one of the authors whose poems are part of the state curriculum along with the civil rights movement. I read this in 6th grade 25 years ago. The school made us students read it just like they made us say the pledge of allegiance. They also made us read about Vietnam - I'm sorry you went through that; my uncle is a disabled vet. Anyways, why are you on here posting a comment like this? (Report)Reply

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  • (5/4/2019 3:38:00 PM)

    I am proud to be am american& live in the the greatest country. If anyone think it is so bad here, you do not have to stay. the poem was someone sad.president Trump is trying to do a good job.If you don't like him vote for someone else. I love this country.a viet nam vet 69-70.may God bless our country (Report)Reply

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  • (4/29/2019 10:15:00 AM)

    This was a great poem. (Report)Reply

    4 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • (4/16/2019 9:37:00 AM)

    When was it written?

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  • Castellenas John (4/1/2019 8:17:00 AM)

    Hopeful and wonderful poem. (Report)Reply

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  • (3/29/2019 9:56:00 AM)


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  • (3/29/2019 9:54:00 AM)


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  • (3/29/2019 9:43:00 AM)

    : () - yeet! oooooooooooooooooooof! (Report)Reply

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  • (3/29/2019 9:36:00 AM)

    $$ @@

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  • (3/29/2019 9:35:00 AM)

    I LOVE POEMS! $$

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  • (3/29/2019 9:32:00 AM)

    I love this poem! Five-thousand stars! (Report)Reply

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  • (1/9/2019 10:23:00 AM)

    Think I found out where trump got his slogan. Other than that great poem Hughes! (Report)Reply

    (3/29/2019 9:30:00 AM)

    So trump got his slogan where?

    (3/29/2019 9:19:00 AM)

    What was that about who?

    (3/27/2019 8:12:00 PM)

    That could be. However, he must not have read the poem in its entirety. It's greatness was built on the backs of slaves, the swet of the irish, and the millions of other immagrants that worked to make America. But for some, America was never greeat even after we built it.

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  • (12/19/2018 8:57:00 PM)

    I think this is an excellent poem (Report)Reply

    7 person liked.
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  • (12/12/2018 12:33:00 PM)

    trump should not build the wall (Report)Reply

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  • (11/12/2018 12:16:00 PM)

    Thankfully Langston Hughes is not alive right now. The last line of his poem here.. is harrowing. It is missing the word great if compared to Trump's slogan. What a dream to have. As a bi-racial woman with Chinese heritage, I am ashamed of America's current state. Political rant over.

    Thank you for the poem, Mr. Hughes. It rings true with me too.

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  • (11/1/2018 8:10:00 AM)

    Ok this was an epic win (Report)Reply

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  • (10/17/2018 11:11:00 PM)

    Mr. Hughes may or may not have been to China. I don't really know.
    What I DO know about him is that he was born in 1902, died in 1967 (at the age of 65) that his poetry will live forever and that I am damned glad he isn't here to read some of these ignorant comments.

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  • (10/16/2018 10:00:00 AM)

    i like how your looks
    u are a

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  • (10/16/2018 9:54:00 AM)

    WE R SUCKING UR BALLS (Report)Reply

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  • (10/3/2018 1:10:00 PM)


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Read all 108 comments »

What do you think this poem is about?

Read poems about / on: america, dream, today, dog, freedom, rape, africa, people, greed, hope, home, dark, faith, strength, power, work, rain, red, green, pain

Poem Submitted: Friday, January 3, 2003

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