Let America be America again

There are good reasons to publish the poem Let America be America again. We can read the news about everything that is going on in this country almost every day. Although the poem by Langston Hughes was written a long time ago, it hasn’t lost is accuracy. It describes this American dream, that seems to be out of reach for some. Even when they are living in this country.


Langston Hughes (1902 – 1967) left an important legacy when it comes to his written words. He was able to describe the things that were going on in his country. Some things have changed, while others are still in need of change. Some things aren’t “typical” for the country he lived in. When it comes to equality, there is still a lot to be won, in many countries.

Let America be America again is all about that dream about freedom and equality. This dream comes with happiness and shows that everything is possible. Yes, the sky is the limit. And as the sky, the possibilities are unlimited.

In this poem, Hughes explains to us that the situation he experienced was holding back that beautiful dream. Unless you belonged or belong to that group who is fortunate enough to enjoy all the beautiful things. The reality that the lack of this dream shows us: it’s a daily struggle and in some way, this a difficult path to walk on.

Hughes wrote the poem in a period known as the Harlem Renaissance. This period was an outburst of creativity and gave the people a new voice. This voice hasn’t died since then. It’s still needed, as some things didn’t really change.

Is there no solution? According to Hughes, there is. Redemption will come when you realize there is hope. There will always be hope. This message wasn’t just meant for his readers. It was also for himself, as he was going through a rough period in his life.

Let America be America again

Let America be America again

Let America be America again

Let America be America again

Let America be America again.
Let it be the dream it used to be.
Let it be the pioneer on the plain
Seeking a home where he himself is free.

(America never was America to me.)

Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed–
Let it be that great strong land of love
Where never kings connive nor tyrants scheme
That any man be crushed by one above.

(It never was America to me.)

O, let my land be a land where Liberty
Is crowned with no false patriotic wreath,
But opportunity is real, and life is free,
Equality is in the air we breathe.

(There’s never been equality for me,
Nor freedom in this “homeland of the free.”)

Say, who are you that mumbles in the dark?
And who are you that draws your veil across the stars?

I am the poor white, fooled and pushed apart,
I am the Negro bearing slavery’s scars.
I am the red man driven from the land,
I am the immigrant clutching the hope I seek–
And finding only the same old stupid plan
Of dog eat dog, of mighty crush the weak.

I am the young man, full of strength and hope,
Tangled in that ancient endless chain
Of profit, power, gain, of grab the land!
Of grab the gold! Of grab the ways of satisfying need!
Of work the men! Of take the pay!
Of owning everything for one’s own greed!

I am the farmer, bondsman to the soil.
I am the worker sold to the machine.
I am the Negro, servant to you all.
I am the people, humble, hungry, mean–
Hungry yet today despite the dream.
Beaten yet today–O, Pioneers!
I am the man who never got ahead,
The poorest worker bartered through the years.

Yet I’m the one who dreamt our basic dream
In the Old World while still a serf of kings,
Who dreamt a dream so strong, so brave, so true,
That even yet its mighty daring sings
In every brick and stone, in every furrow turned
That’s made America the land it has become.
O, I’m the man who sailed those early seas
In search of what I meant to be my home–
For I’m the one who left dark Ireland’s shore,
And Poland’s plain, and England’s grassy lea,
And torn from Black Africa’s strand I came
To build a “homeland of the free.”

The free?

Who said the free? Not me?
Surely not me? The millions on relief today?
The millions shot down when we strike?
The millions who have nothing for our pay?
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 the dream that’s almost dead today.

O, let America be America again–
The land that never has been yet–
And yet must be–the land where every man is free.
The land that’s mine–the poor man’s, Indian’s, Negro’s, ME–
Who made America,
Whose sweat and blood, whose faith and pain,
Whose hand at the foundry, whose plow in the rain,
Must bring back our mighty dream again.

Sure, call me any ugly name you choose–
The steel of freedom does not stain.
From those who live like leeches on the people’s lives,
We must take back our land again,

O, yes,
I say it plain,
America never was America to me,
And yet I swear this oath–
America will be!

Out of the rack and ruin of our gangster death,
The rape and rot of graft, and stealth, and lies,
We, the people, must redeem
The land, the mines, the plants, the rivers.
The mountains and the endless plain–
All, all the stretch of these great green states–
And make America again!
What are your thoughts on freedom? Let us know!

— Langston Hughes

New version

We published this poem in 2017. We decided to update this article and especially the analysis of this poem by Langston Hughes.

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