Langston Hughes

(1 February 1902 – 22 May 1967 / Missouri)

The Negro Mother - Poem by Langston Hughes

Children, I come back today
To tell you a story of the long dark way
That I had to climb, that I had to know
In order that the race might live and grow.
Look at my face - dark as the night -
Yet shining like the sun with love's true light.
I am the dark girl who crossed the red sea
Carrying in my body the seed of the free.
I am the woman who worked in the field
Bringing the cotton and the corn to yield.
I am the one who labored as a slave,
Beaten and mistreated for the work that I gave -
Children sold away from me, I'm husband sold, too.
No safety, no love, no respect was I due.

Three hundred years in the deepest South:
But God put a song and a prayer in my mouth.
God put a dream like steel in my soul.
Now, through my children, I'm reaching the goal.

Now, through my children, young and free,
I realized the blessing deed to me.
I couldn't read then. I couldn't write.
I had nothing, back there in the night.
Sometimes, the valley was filled with tears,
But I kept trudging on through the lonely years.
Sometimes, the road was hot with the sun,
But I had to keep on till my work was done:
I had to keep on! No stopping for me -
I was the seed of the coming Free.
I nourished the dream that nothing could smother
Deep in my breast - the Negro mother.
I had only hope then, but now through you,
Dark ones of today, my dreams must come true:
All you dark children in the world out there,
Remember my sweat, my pain, my despair.
Remember my years, heavy with sorrow -
And make of those years a torch for tomorrow.
Make of my pass a road to the light
Out of the darkness, the ignorance, the night.
Lift high my banner out of the dust.
Stand like free men supporting my trust.
Believe in the right, let none push you back.
Remember the whip and the slaver's track.
Remember how the strong in struggle and strife
Still bar you the way, and deny you life -
But march ever forward, breaking down bars.
Look ever upward at the sun and the stars.
Oh, my dark children, may my dreams and my prayers
Impel you forever up the great stairs -
For I will be with you till no white brother
Dares keep down the children of the Negro Mother.

Topic(s) of this poem: mother

Comments about The Negro Mother by Langston Hughes

  • (11/30/2016 6:36:00 PM)

    Very strong and powerfulfilling (Report) Reply

    10 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • (9/10/2016 10:19:00 AM)

    Beautiful! (Report) Reply

  • Ahmed Gumaa Siddiek (7/23/2016 7:45:00 AM)

    was the seed of the coming Free.
    I nourished the dream that nothing could smother
    Deep in my breast - the Negro mother.
    I had only hope then, but now through you,
    Dark ones of today, my dreams must come true:

    Yes Mom, Your dreams have at lastt came true. The master in the White House red your advice and worked towards it and did.
    (Report) Reply

  • Zwelethu Siwaphiwe Shweni (5/31/2016 4:13:00 AM)

    Very touching, 'The Negro Mother' Well articulated by you Langston (Report) Reply

  • Margaret O Driscoll (2/9/2016 5:27:00 PM)

    A magnificent poem of pride, determination, justice and freedom (Report) Reply

  • Kasiniventhan Muthuramalingam (6/27/2015 10:58:00 AM)

    A great Poem indeed....feeling of the worlds oldest race.. All are born equal... (Report) Reply

  • (2/13/2015 8:10:00 AM)

    A powerful poem on freedom and the incidents on the past. (Report) Reply

  • (3/6/2010 8:58:00 PM)

    this poem is so powerful, you can almost imagine thousands and thousands of strong black voices chanting it as a mantra, you can imagine thousands of black slaves, men and woman and children chanting it through the years, you can imagine the black mother in this poem telling her children while they sit upon her knee...the words in this poem are the most beautiful powerful inspiring words i have ever heard...... (Report) Reply

  • (5/25/2009 8:09:00 PM)

    This was the first poem i did in front of my church when i was a little girl.I loved it then and i still love it. (Report) Reply

  • (11/2/2008 5:45:00 PM)

    Wow this poem is so powerful. it gave me a glimps of how it far we have come, and how we as African Americans and people of all races worked hard to get to be equal American citizens and we should always always be trying to better our selves for our selves and for the people who worked to get us where we are today. (Report) Reply

  • (10/28/2008 11:33:00 AM)

    I love this poem, very deep. I feel in love with it! (Report) Reply

  • (9/17/2008 5:58:00 PM)

    oMG i K0MPL3T3Li L0V3 THiS PO3M! ! (Report) Reply

  • (11/26/2007 9:23:00 PM)

    harden up and get a real job (Report) Reply

  • (6/4/2007 12:19:00 PM)

    when i saw this poem i fell in love with it, i knew i just had to recite this poem to my english class. (Report) Reply

  • (4/4/2007 2:54:00 PM)

    me being a person of color we don't get 2 read many poems like this everthing now is about rump shackin and cruelty and 2 know about the harlem renacennce with langston billie holliday and 2 know how much we suffered 2 get this far is so amazing 2 me that is y I love poetry it is an escape from all this mess that is why i love this poem! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! : -) (Report) Reply

  • (12/19/2006 2:28:00 PM)

    This poem really cuts to the message of the oppression, and the cruelty that the black race has had to suffer. I think that this poem has a triumphant voice, showing that there is hope to overcome the tragedy of the past. Love it! (Report) Reply

  • (8/10/2006 8:47:00 PM)

    we need more stories like these to let black children kno how hard our ancestors suffered (Report) Reply

Read all 17 comments »

User Rating:
4,0 / 5 ( 235 votes ) 17

Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

Read poems about / on: children, remember, dark, sometimes, today, respect, work, husband, mother, dream, brother, sun, trust, despair, lonely, believe, girl, sorrow, woman, night

Poem Submitted: Friday, January 3, 2003

Poem Edited: Thursday, December 18, 2014

[Report Error]