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I, Too, Sing America
I, Too, Sing America
by Langston Hughes

Speaker Point of View

Who is the speaker, can she or he read minds, and, more importantly, can we trust her or him?

The poem is told in the present tense and in first person, and yet its subject and time period could be seen either as slave-owning America or early 20th-century ("Jim Crow era") America. The speaker in this poem could be thought of as a person from either of these times, and serves as a kind of "representative" of all black Americans during that historical era. It's almost as if a whole community is speaking this poem, instead of just one individual.

If you wanted to picture the speaker as a single individual, though, we could envision him as a black domestic servant – but one who has ambitions, plans, and dreams for the future. He realizes where he is now, but that doesn't stop him from being hopeful about where he – and his entire race – might be in the future. So our speaker's a dreamer, persevering in the face of adversity, convinced of his beauty and his (eventual) equality.

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