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When Hughes says “But I laugh, And eat well, And grow strong” (5-7), he is saying that being segregated does not bother the African American community.They are, in fact, becoming stronger people internally and in the last stanza, he makes it clear that they know that one day the segregation will be over, and they will be eating with the white people at the dining room table with the company.Hughes also says that nobody will dare tell any African Americans to eat in the kitchen, but besides, they will not want to, for they will be able to finally see and appreciate how beautiful African Americans are. The poetry of Langston Hughes was a significant part of the Harlem Renaissance that expressed the importance of African American culture and the need for legal equality between the races.
With the excitement of these new and different ideas in the arts that finally had gotten the opportunity to emerge, the Harlem Renaissance was born.
Two of the major contributors to this era were authors, (James) Langston Hughes and Claude Mc Kay, who both, among a vast array of works, wrote poetry pertaining to the sufferings and strengths of African American culture.
The poem is also known as a tribute to the African American culture which Hughes said came from his own life.
In his autobiography, The Big Sea, Hughes talks about a racist man he encountered while crossing the Mississippi River on a journey to see his father.
Not only did African Americans bring their labor skills to New York City, they brought their culture and their talents in art, music, and poetry.
Their talents in these areas opened the eyes of their Caucasian counterparts and helped their fight for racial equality.
In his first published poem, The Negro Speaks of Rivers, Hughes metaphorically compares the soul of an African American man to a river, saying they are both deep.
Rivers are often personified in poetry and used as symbols of both life and death.
The second stanza talks about African Americans having to eat in the kitchen when company comes over.
This stanza is talking about the segregation that is in place.