An Everyman's Poet
Langston Hughes didn't have it too easy in his day. Black intellectuals of his time often criticized our man for portraying black life in a less-than-flattering way, during a time when these same folks were looking to make their way in an already volatile American culture. So Hughes took a lot of heat from both the black community—which didn't feel well-served—and the white community—which was already skeptical to begin with.
But the fact remains that the everyday folks of his day, both black and white, praised Hughes for his way of capturing the frustrations and passions of black life in its stark reality. He wasn't interested in wearing rose-colored glasses in his writing. He told it like it was and wrote the world how he saw it as a person, not just as a "black person." Hughes often wrote about everyday people in big cities struggling with the same sort of up and down cycles of life that folks continue to experience today.