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I, Too, Sing America

I, Too, Sing America

by Langston Hughes

Race Quotes

How we cite our quotes:

Quote #1

I am the darker brother. (line 2)

This quote sets the stage for the rest of the poem, establishing the speaker as African-American and placing him in a very interesting relationship with his white counterparts. He establishes himself as a "brother." Other than the slang term, what does this do to the tone of the poem? Why do you think he calls himself family in that way?

Quote #2

They send me to eat in the kitchen
When company comes, (lines 3-4)

This moment sets up the power dynamic between white Americans (the "they") and black Americans in this poem. The white family is sending the speaker (who's either a slave or servant) away to go "eat in the kitchen" because they don't want him to be seen by their guests. (Side note: how does this juxtaposition of family and slavery affect the beginning of this poem? What does it do?)

Quote #3

Tomorrow,
I'll be at the table (lines 8-9)

Looking towards the future ("tomorrow" – which, in this case, really means many years in the future), the poem envisions a world in which all races can be at the same table (metaphorically speaking, of course – though, there's a literal element to this, too). The speaker is envisioning a world in which he'll be just as welcome as all the free people in the country.

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