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,
America!

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

  • (1/17/2018 1:16:00 PM)


    too long to read i want simple (Report) Reply

    0 person liked.
    2 person did not like.
  • (1/16/2018 1:23:00 PM)


    Send to Trump and Congress (Report) Reply

  • (1/15/2018 10:33:00 AM)


    Speaks just as strongly to the America of 2018 as it did to the America of 1935 when the poem was written. A timeless truth unfortunately, but a truth that still carries a great promise rooted in hope. (Report) Reply

  • Annabelle Fifield (1/4/2018 10:58:00 AM)


    Some of this I do not agree with, but overall it is a beautiful poem. (Report) Reply

  • (1/4/2018 12:12:00 AM)


    First time I ever read this wonderful poem so relevant for today Let's make America great in the right way as our poet understood the term'great' (Report) Reply

  • (1/3/2018 10:03:00 PM)


    The way this poem applies to 2017 is incredible seeing how it was written so many years ago. Just powerfully relevant (Report) Reply

  • (12/21/2017 1:05:00 PM)


    How can i listen to the mp3 file of hughes' poems (Report) Reply

  • (12/14/2017 11:04:00 AM)


    It amazes me that a man would be able to write such a powerful piece of work and let it still be applicable 80+ years later. (Report) Reply

  • (12/4/2017 9:44:00 AM)


    has anyone S.I.F.I.T this poem yet? i need it fast bro i need an A bro help (Report) Reply

  • (12/4/2017 9:42:00 AM)


    has anyone S.I.F.I.T this poem yet? (Report) Reply

  • Amy Johnson (7/6/2017 2:24:00 PM)


    One of my favorites. Perfect for today's political climate! (Report) Reply

  • Loppo Louie (6/10/2017 9:54:00 AM)


    Another Hughes classic. (Report) Reply

  • Hebert Logerie Sr. (3/14/2017 10:48:00 PM)


    Langston Hughes was a great poet. This poem was written before Donald Trump's name was known. I think Donald may read this poem Let America Be America Again. Some acknowledgment ought to be given to this great poet. (Report) Reply

    (12/25/2017 9:01:00 PM)

    Donald Trump is incapable of understanding this poem. He would see only a superficial similarity to his slogan, and he would make much of that, while completely missing what the poem is actually about.

    (4/3/2017 7:50:00 AM)

    What do you think he will think of this poem?

  • Tom Allport (12/24/2016 11:31:00 AM)

    tom allport
    it is not just an American dream, it is humanities dream but with a sad end, my friend (Report) Reply

  • Pallang Mofokeng (9/28/2016 1:38:00 AM)


    Beautiful work, such work inspires me as a poet (Report) Reply

  • (9/26/2016 5:34:00 PM)

    Let America be America again
    Hughes has many great poems but this one sends chills up my spine. Read this out loud. It has passion, pace, horror and honest hope. Wow! (Report) Reply

  • (6/12/2016 6:47:00 PM)


    AMERICA &THE MAD DOGS OF MAN!
    Wherever dwell the mad dogs of man
    There is corruption, plunder and hate.
    In every city, town or village
    Those who promote distrust deserve their fate.

    All are born as an innocent child
    Till misled by others along the way.
    God has always loved His children
    Though it breaks His heart when they stray.

    The mad dogs of man never repent
    For they have no sense of shame or sorrow.
    Worshiping dominance and the dark side of life
    Abusing victims as if there were no tomorrow.

    God gives us the will to sin no more
    And to overcome evil unwilling to cease.
    The mad dogs of man must be stopped
    Who murder, rape and destroy world peace.

    Samson, Solomon, Moses and David
    Were chosen by God to stand tall.
    They faced great odds and the fear of death
    Refusing to ignore their call.

    The time has come for the people of Earth
    To band together to restrain the horde.
    Standing firm against tyranny where it exists
    Putting the mad dogs of man to the sword.

    The fearful cry we must submit
    And find a way to soothe them.
    Where defenders worry if we stand down
    The future for America is grim.

    Now's not the time to fight one another
    Or kiss our enemy's cheek.
    All through history it remains the same
    The strong enslave the weak.

    May God continue to bless America
    Refusing evil, the upper hand.
    It's up to us to stay resolute
    Defending the liberty of Man.

    Tom’s 1,261 Poems Are Free To Share!
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    (Report) Reply

  • Damian Cranney (3/21/2016 2:04:00 AM)


    I do not belong to your great land, but this poem is epic, and truly, truly grand. An inspiration.
    Thank you
    (Report) Reply

  • Ahmed Gumaa Siddiek (2/27/2016 2:22:00 AM)


    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.

    I think some of your dreams have come true. A black President is a symbol of long fight for freedom to free all blacks. in fact it is the white people who are set free from their illusion to see life from a totally different angle. Great poem.
    (Report) Reply

  • Amir Hosein Abdolmalaki (1/31/2016 4:24:00 AM)


    There is no where great like America but as you said it needs to be America again, nice work (Report) Reply

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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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