English with Saddam logo

The Negro Speaks of Rivers summary | Langston Hughes

The Negro Speaks of Rivers summary | Langston Hughes

Writer’s intro:

Langston Hughes (1902-1967) was a well-known American poet and writer of color. In the Harlem Renaissance, he had a significant role (a movement in African American culture in the 1920s that began in the New York district of Harlem.) His poems feature African-American rhythms and are primarily about city life. The Negro Speaks of Rivers summary is more important to the students of English literature.



Note: Here the speaker represents all the black Negroes.



The Negro Speaks of Rivers summary

The main idea of the poem is that the speaker is related to people who lived in important historical, religious, and cultural sites around the world. So, he says not to set Negro apart from other people. They should be treated like other people, as humans. 


The Euphrates, Congo, Nile, and Mississippi have all been visited, according to the poem’s narrator and he asserts that these rivers date back to the beginning of time. The Euphrates River originates in southwest Asia. The first cities in history were developed along this river. In west-central Africa, the Congo River, the second-longest river in all of Africa, is located. How the dark races in Africa developed has a lot to do with it. The biggest river on earth is the Nile.

There was habitation there at least 5,000 years ago and the Mississippi River is the biggest river in the nation. The source of Lincoln’s inspiration for putting an end to slavery in the US is relevant. More ancient than humans are all of the rivers on Earth. As deep as the rivers have grown the speaker’s soul. He had his first dip in the Euphrates at the beginning of time. It caused him to fall asleep on the Congo River bank.

While Abe Lincoln was traveling down the Mississippi River to New Orleans to fight against slavery, he saw the pyramids being constructed on the Nile’s land and heard the river sing. In the midst of Mississippi, he discovered, it was becoming golden. He has visited each and every one of these rivers, and much like the rivers, his soul has become deeper. The color gold actually represents hope. He has a deep-seated faith that the Negro will one day be liberated from slavery.



I, Too, Sing America

In The Negro Speaks of Rivers’s summary the poem’s message is a protest against the disparate treatment of black and white people in American culture. The poem’s narrator also expresses the hope that there will be no distinction between blacks and whites one day.


The speaker is of African American descent. He serves as a servant at the White House. The speaker gets sent back to the kitchen to eat when guests arrive and he is black, which is why. Black folks have no place inside the White House. The speaker perceives himself as not having much. He enters the kitchen and gains strength, believing that the scene will change one day. He dreams of the day when he can join those with white skin at the dinner table. Nobody will have the courage to order him to the kitchen. Instead, because they hadn’t seen him before, they will be ashamed of how they treated him in the past when they realize how gorgeous he has grown to be. 



The Weary Blues

The poem is based on the theme of the frustration and suffering of the Negroes in America. The speaker heard a Negro sing a blues song on Lenox Avenue the other night. He was rocking back and forth as he was singing the song drowsily. His dark hands were playing the ivory-white keys of a piano that seemed to moan with music. He was singing like a musical fool on a rickety stool under an old gas light. The song was about how there was no one or nothing for black people in the world. So he was very sad and wished he had died. He sang late into the night and then went to sleep like a rock.



The poem is centered on the idea of what may happen if a dream is postponed or does not come true. Actually, there is a good chance that America will be destroyed entirely if the Negroes’ ideal is not realized. 


The poet asks what happens to a dream that is put off for too long. He also gives a quick answer to the question. It dries up in the sun like a raisin. In reality, a raisin doesn’t have the same energy as a grape. A deferred dream is something that gets worse, like a sore on the body that makes pus (a yellowish liquid from any infected area). A dream that you put off is like rotten meat that you can’t eat and smells bad. The deferred dream is also like sugar or crust (hard layer) over like sweet syrup. When the syrup has gone bad, a crust forms on top of it. The curse is like a bomb that goes off. 



This is the end of our content, The Negro Speaks of Rivers summary. If you want to read more from American Poetry, please check below:

I taste a Liquor





Share This :

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Saddam Hossain

Founder & Language Instructor

Apart from English language and literature skill, I’m a Digital Marketer & Content Writer at My Writing Pen, BD Business Finder, NY Bizlisting.

subscribe & follow

Join the newsletter

you will receive latest study material and updates on your favorite

You have been successfully Subscribed! Ops! Something went wrong, please try again.

Learning English or improving language skill in an easy way is our main goal that will certainly enable you to remove your English phobia.

error: Sorry, prohibition is set on copying content !!