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James Langston Hughes was born in Joplin Missouri but lived with his grandmother in Lawrence Kansas and subsequently more than half his life His mother was a schoolteacher she furthermore wrote poetry His father James Nathaniel Hughes was a storekeeper His father James had wanted to become a lawyer but he had been denied to take the bar exam Hughess parents separated and his mother moved from city to city in search of work During his peripatetic childhood Hughes lived in Mexico Topeka Kansas Colorado Indiana and Buffalo Part of his childhood Hughes lived with his grandmother Mary Sampson Patterson Leary Langston she was prominent known in the African American community in Lawrence Her first husband had died at Harpers Ferry fighting with John Brown her second husband Langston Hughess grandfather was a prominent Kansas politician during Reconstruction During the time Hughes lived with his grandmother however she was old and poor and unable to give Hughes the attention he needed Besides Hughes felt hurt by both his mother and his father and was unable to understand why he was not allowed to live with either of them These feelings of rejection caused him to grow up very insecure and unsure of himself At the age of 13 he moved back with his mother and her second husband Later the family moved to Cleveland Ohio where Hughess stepfather worked in the steel mills During this period Hughes found the poems of Carl Sandbury whose unrhymed free verse influenced him on a profound effect After graduating from a high school in Cleveland Hughes spent a year in Mexico with his light-skinned father who had found there a release as a successful cattle rancher from racism of the North When Langston Hughess grandmother died his mother summoned him to her home in Lincoln Illinois Here according to Hughes he wrote his first verse and was named class poet of his eighth grade class Hughes lived
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