Dreams (6): I, TOO 

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 stressed the theme of “black is beautiful” as he explored the black human condition in a variety of depths His main concern was to portray the lives of the working-class blacks in America, to record their strength, courage, humour, struggles and music as part of the general American experience. He confronted racial stereotypes, protested against social conditions, fought for racial consciousness as a source of inspiration for black artists.

The poet here records the nuances of black life and its frustrations, but what emerges is not only the unattractiveness of that life, but also the beauty and strength of the people.
The stress is on discrimination, on the fact that the speaker is treated as a slave, but this doesn’t stop him from laughing and growing strong.
Then he imagines a future in which he will no longer be discriminated and oppressed , when they (the white majority) will understand his beauty and will “be ashamed” at their previous prejudice, and concludes asserting, again, that he is indeed American.

black man

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