February Poem of the Month: Democracy, Langston Hughes

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American poet Langston Hughes

American poet Langston Hughes

For Black History Month, here is the poem Democracy first published in 1949 by the great poet Langston Hughes. A multi-creative whose work spanned four decades (mid-1920s to his 1967 death), Hughes is best known for his prolific poetry. He also wrote 15 prose books and 11 stage plays.

Hughes is considered a primary artistic contributor to the 1920s Harlem Renaissance. After his death from cancer at age 65, his Harlem home was designated a landmark.



Democracy will not come
Today, this year
Nor ever
Through compromise and fear.

I have as much right
As the other fellow has
To stand
On my two feet
And own the land.

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.

Is a strong seed
In a great need.

I live here, too.
I want freedom
Just as you.

–Langston Hughes

(c) material used for educational purposes.

Journal Prompts

  • What does democracy mean to you?
  • Write about a time when you did not feel free.
  • The world faces an unprecedented refugee crisis, people fleeing oppression and tyranny. What is your country’s/state’s/community’s position on refugees? How do you feel about that position?
  • Start a write, Freedom is a strong seed….
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