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.

Analysis, meaning and summary of Langston Hughes's poem I, Too, Sing America

66 Comments

  1. keyaundra rusell says:

    I LOVE THE POEM I TOO IT GIVES YOU A CLEAR UNDRESTANDING OF WAT BLACKS HAD TO GO THROUGH DURING DAT TIME LIKE FORREAL MANE….

  2. Marwa says:

    I, Too” by Langston Hughes
    The poem “I, Too” by Langston Hughes is an excellent example of a poem using the word “I” as something other than its literal meaning. “I, Too” is about the segregation of African Americans, whites and how soon segregation will come to an end.
    The first line of “I, Too” uses the word “I” right away. The line states “I, too, sing America”. This meter in particular is as important as the entirety of the poem. It means not only whites are Americans, but African Americans are citizens and should be treated equally. In the following stanza, the word “I” is used several times. The first line of the second stanza states “I am the darker brother” — meaning he may be African American, but he is still an American. The following five meters state “They send me to eat in the kitchen. When company comes, but I laugh, and eat well, and grow strong”. The use of “I” here is showing that African Americans do not worry about what is being done, but how they are growing stronger as segregation continues, knowing soon they will be equal.
    The third stanza shows what the future will be like, or as Hughes uses the metaphorical “tomorrow.” The stanza reads “Tomorrow, I’ll be at the table when company comes. Nobody’ll dare say to me, “Eat in the kitchen,” Then”. The use of “I” helps showing the African American community will soon rise and be one with the rest of America.
    The fourth stanza concludes in a way which states African Americans are not inherently bad, but inherently good. The stanza reads “Besides, they’ll see how beautiful I am and be ashamed – I, too, am America”. Here Hughes says that once African American’s are recognized as equal, everyone will see they are not bad and that they are beautiful as well as part of America.
    Langston Hughes is a talented poet who uses metaphors and his own style of writing to increase the effectiveness of his overall message. His usage of “I” helps reiterate that he too is an American and will not be let down by society nor will other African Americans. “I, Too” depicts the view of African Americans in the past and their strength to move forward.

    Democracy, by Langston Hughes

    It is no surprise that democracy in the United States was nonexistent in the early 1900s and throughout the Jim Crow era, for blacks had no rights. Democracy back then was laughable and a joke – and outright biased. Government rule by the people pertained to whites exclusively, excluding all African Americans.
    Therefore, Langston Hughes felt compelled to speak his mind for equality and his birthright freedom via poetry. He clearly addresses his points of view about democracy in the first stanza of “Democracy” (1949).
    He declares the following: “Democracy will not come / Today, this year / Nor ever / Through compromise and fear.” He believes his rights should parallel those of white people, without compromising his dignity in any way. He declares he is an American and should have the rights to stand on his two feet and own his land, supported by lines 7 through 9.
    He doesn’t want to wait for freedom; he wants to fight for freedom and make a change. Moreover, he is not too fond of passive individuals who say the following, “Let things take their course / Tomorrow is another day,” because that kind of attitude signifies submission.
    He indicates that everybody should have the right to exercise their freedom because that’s a birthright, for whites, blacks, and whomever. The final three lines – “I live here, too / I want freedom / Just as you” – need no interpretation, because the clarity of what he wants is obvious.
    Democracy implies free and equal representation of people; in more concrete language, it implies free and equal right of every single soul to participate in a system of government, which was nonexistent to blacks at the juncture, due to the Jim Crow laws.
    The poem “Democracy” by Langston Hughes is one of many great poems (poetic protest) conceived throughout his illustrious poetic life. Written in 1949, he obviously wanted change and equality in the present when he was alive, and not in the future, for a dead man has no right to freedom. Appropriately, he had a pessimistic view of democracy because blacks were treated badly and suffered greatly.
    Can anyone blame a man for having such a negative view on democracy while living in a racist society? Absolutely not! Thousands of Black Americans had the same feeling.
    In reality, democracy was profoundly one-sided, for blacks were not allowed to be involved with any decision making, etc. Freedom and equality summarize the entire poem, for that is what Hughes wanted at the time – basic entitlement for one and for all.

  3. IGNACE KABONGO says:

    Almost 20 years after I graduated, I still remember this power inspiring poem by Langston Hughes. It reminds me how we and our professor were discussing this short poem during our literature sessions by telling one another this:’before God there is no colour or race’

  4. Elaine says:

    The poem I, Too, written by Langston Hughes, uses excellent language, vivid imagery and strong sounds to express the poet’s feelings towards racism. I, Too is an anti-discrimination poem, which shows the injustice of racism. The poem is very effective because of its genuine emotions and also because it makes us to rflect on an issue that issue very common nowadays.

  5. Elaine says:

    The poem I, Too, written by Langston Hughes, uses excellent language, vivid imagery and strong sounds to express the poet’s feelings towards racism. I, Too is an anti-discrimination poem, which shows the injustice of racism. In addition, the poem make us to reflect on an issue that is very commom nowadays.

  6. roberta says:

    it is fantastic…..very very…beatiful!!!!!

  7. Bammi says:

    I liked this poem alot. Im in my 3rd year of high school and so far this poem has made it awesome. I like it alot. People of his nationality are most likely grateful that Langston Hughes wrote this poem. This makes me happy and to anyone who reads this, I hope you feel the same. I like it alot and me being one of the darker teenagers at my school (Native American) I feel that everyone has a right to be free.

  8. m says:

    I read the poem I,Too infront of my hole school and did a great job for Black History Month

  9. Shaarmake says:

    it was ight

  10. Andrew says:

    Best Poem ever lied my eyes on its refreshing and uplifts our lives as people of colour.Andrew,Zambia

  11. jayjay says:

    the poem has a deeper meaning than what it seems. I really liked it and had to do a presentation about it.

  12. Kevin Harrison says:

    Liked it alot foreal

  13. nancy_nguyen83 says:

    I seemed to fall into asleep just because of learning boring poems and then suddenly feel excied when i heard my teacher to explain “i,too”.How beautiful the poem is!

  14. Riley says:

    This is definately one of my all time favorite Langston Hughes. The statment he is making on a person’s desire and right to be treated equally inspires me every time I read the poem.

  15. Robby says:

    i think that this poem definently show how langson was tired and wanted everyone to rise up and be treated like a regular person

  16. Kinsey B. says:

    I love Edgar Allen Poe!

  17. Mariolina says:

    We had to study it at low middle school in Italy. We fell in love with it from line 1. My sister and I still quote it often to the children in our family. And, adapted, it has become our feminist statement.
    I believe it is the most beautiful poem ever written.

  18. Florina says:

    I think that Langhston Hughes is a very good writer. He is not ashamed to say that his black skin is beutiful!!!

    Learn how to spell “beautiful”.

  19. David says:

    As others have pointed out, this poem works on so many different levels. The fact that Hughes himself was an African American, and the line “I am the darker brother,” certainly suggests that it is about being an African American — but it could also be about being a Latino, a homosexual or even a Goth (think about how Goths were demonized after the Columbine incident)! It’s really about exclusion in a country that claims to be “e pluribus unum” — “one out of many.”

  20. Taylor says:

    This is part of my research paper on uplifting poets of the Harlem Renaissance:
    This theme of beauty is also exemplified in Langston Hughes’ poem “I, Too.” Hoping for a future of racial equality, Hughes proclaims “Tomorrow […] /they’ll see how beautiful I am/ […] I too, am American.” The sestet, lines two through seven, he begins with “I am the darker brother.” The word “brother” signifies one half of an equal partnership; the other is the white man or lighter brother. This relation immediately establishes Hughes’ quest for equality, and white society’s ignorance to the equivalence. By identifying the beauty of his African American culture, Hughes creates reason for white acceptance and asks for racial impartiality.

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