25 Langston Hughes Quotes from his Poems About Dreams

Looking for the best Langston Hughes quotes to motivate you to pursue your goals and dreams?

Hughes’ work and life played an important role in shaping the artistic contributions of the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s.

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Langston Hughes was:

  • an American poet
  • social activist
  • novelist
  • playwright

He is best known for being a leader of the Harlem Renaissance in New York City.

Born on February 1, 1902, in Joplin, Missouri, Hughes moved to New York City as a young man, where he made his career.

He published his first poem in 1921 and his first book in 1926.

Known for his insightful, colorful portrayals of black life in America, he told the stories of his people in ways that reflected their actual culture.

This included their suffering and their love of music, laughter, and language.

Langston Hughes died on May 22, 1967, from complications of prostate cancer.

In his memory, the New York City Preservation Commission gave his home on East 127th Street in Harlem landmark status.

Here are some inspirational Langston Hughes quotes and Langston Hughes sayings that will motivate you to go after your dreams, no matter how unattainable others might think they are.

When finished, check out our collection of Gustave Flaubert quotes as well.

Check out our most popular quote article, a list of short inspirational quotes for daily inspiration.

Check out our inspirational quotes category page for more inspirational life quotes.

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Langston Hughes quotes from his poems about dreams

1. “A dream deferred is a dream denied.” – Langston Hughes

langston hughes quotes about life

You will also enjoy our article on short inspirational poems.

2. “Hold fast to dreams
For when dreams go
Life is a barren field
Frozen with snow.” – Langston Hughes

Langston Hughes quotes from his poems about dreams

3. “To fling my arms wide
In some place of the sun,
To whirl and to dance
Till the white day is done.
Then rest at cool evening
Beneath a tall tree
While night comes on gently,
Dark like me—
That is my dream!” – Langston Hughes

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Insightful Langston Hughes quotes

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4. “What happens to a dream deferred? Does it dry up Like a raisin in the sun?… Or does it explode?” – Langston Hughes

Unique Langston Hughes quotes

5. “Life is for the living.
Death is for the dead.
Let life be like music.
And death a note unsaid.” ― Langston Hughes

Langston Hughes quotes about life

6. “Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken-winged bird that cannot fly.” – Langston Hughes

Epic Langston Hughes quotes

7. ”As I learn from you,
I guess you learn from me—
although you’re older—and white—
and somewhat more free.” – Langston Hughes

Best Langston Hughes quotes

8. “An artist must be free to choose what he does, certainly, but he must also never be afraid to do what he might choose.” – Langston Hughes

More Langston Hughes quotes

9. “For all the dreams we’ve dreamed
And all the songs we’ve sung
And all the hopes we’ve held
And all the flags we’ve hung,
The millions who have nothing for our pay —
Except for the dream that’s almost dead today.” – Langston Hughes

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Wise Langston Hughes quotes

10. “My motto,
As I live and learn,
Dig And Be Dug
In Return.” – Langston Hughes

Other Langston Hughes quotes

Langston Hughes quotes that will inspire and motivate

11. “Let the rain kiss you. Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops. Let the rain sing you a lullaby.” – Langston Hughes

Langston Hughes quotes that will inspire and motivate

12. “When the night winds whistle through the trees and blow the crisp brown leaves a-crackling down,
When the autumn moon is big and yellow-orange and round,
When old Jack Frost is sparkling on the ground,
It’s Thanksgiving Time!” – Langston Hughes

Relatable Langston Hughes quotes

13. “I tire so of hearing people say, Let things take their course. Tomorrow is another day. I do not need my freedom when I’m dead. I cannot live on tomorrow’s bread.” – Langston Hughes

Short Langston Hughes quotes

14. “I live on a park bench.
You, Park Avenue.
Hell of a distance
Between us two.” – Langston Hughes

Positive Langston Hughes quotes

15. “Well, I like to eat, sleep, drink, and be in love. I like to work, read, learn, and understand life.” ― Langston Hughes

Funny langston hughes quotes on learning

16. “I have discovered in life that there are ways of getting almost anywhere you want to go, if you really want to go.” – Langston Hughes

Motivational Langston Hughes quotes

17. “I will not take ‘but’ for an answer. Negroes have been looking at democracy’s ‘but’ too long.” – Langston Hughes

Inspirational Langston Hughes quotes

18. “I stuck my head out the window this morning and spring kissed me bang in the face.” ― Langston Hughes

Wise and inspirational Langston Hughes quotes

19. “The past has been a mint Of blood and sorrow. That must not be True of tomorrow.” – Langston Hughes

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Langston Hughes quotes and saying

20. ”They’ll see how beautiful I am
And be ashamed—

I, too, am America.” – Langston Hughes

Favorite Langston Hughes quotes

Langston Hughes quotes on life and love

21. “So since I’m still here livin’,
I guess I will live on.
I could’ve died for love–
But for livin’ I was born.” – Langston Hughes

Langston Hughes quotes on life and love

22. “I swear to the Lord, I still can’t see why democracy means everybody but me. ” ― Langston Hughes

Langston Hughes quotes about democracy

23. “The calm, Cool face of the river, Asked me for a kiss” ― Langston Hughes

Langston Hughes quotes on the calm, cool face of the river, asked me for a kiss

24. “To some people
Love is given,
To others
Only Heaven.” – Langston Hughes

Appreciation Langston Hughes quotes

25. “When a man starts out to build a world, He starts first with himself.” – Langston Hughes

Top Langston Hughes quotes

Which of these Langston Hughes quotes was your favorite?

Although Langston Hughes died in 1967, volumes of his work continue to be published and translated worldwide.

Hughes will always be remembered for his essential role in the Harlem Renaissance and his portrayal of the African American experience.

Hopefully, these Langston Hughes quotes have motivated you to fight for your dreams and live your best life.

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