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I, TOO by Langston Hughes

Being Black in America is being constantly reminded that you have no home. There is no safe haven where you are welcomed with open arms here. Post Obama presidency, the reminders of this reality have only intensified, as if folks needed to say, “How dare America be led by a Black man!” The backlash has been brazen.

But what of our loyalty to and love for this country? Many Black writers, especially those of the Harlem Renaissance era, wrote of the stinging betrayal. None more brilliantly than the poetic phrases of Langston Hughes:

I, TOO by Langston Hughes

I, too, sing America. I am the darker brother. They send me to eat in the kitchen When company comes, But I laugh, And eat well, And grow strong. Tomorrow, I’ll be at the table When company comes. Nobody’ll dare Say to me, “Eat in the kitchen,” Then. Besides, They’ll see how beautiful I am And be ashamed— I, too, am America.

Langston Hughes by Jack Delano, Office of War Information photo.


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