Cultural Exchange

Poem By Langston Hughes

In the Quarter of the Negroes
Where the doors are doors of paper
Dust of dingy atoms
Blows a scratchy sound.
Amorphous jack-o'-Lanterns caper
And the wind won't wait for midnight
For fun to blow doors down.
By the river and the railroad
With fluid far-off goind
Boundaries bind unbinding
A whirl of whisteles blowing.
No trains or steamboats going--
Yet Leontyne's unpacking.

In the Quarter of the Negroes
Where the doorknob lets in Lieder
More than German ever bore,
Her yesterday past grandpa--
Not of her own doing--
In a pot of collard greens
Is gently stewing.

Pushcarts fold and unfold
In a supermarket sea.
And we better find out, mama,
Where is the colored laundromat
Since we move dup to Mount Vernon.

In the pot begind the paper doors
on the old iron stove what's cooking?
What's smelling, Leontyne?
Lieder, lovely Lieder
And a leaf of collard green.
Lovely Lieder, Leontyne.

You know, right at Christmas
They asked me if my blackness,
Would it rub off?
I said, Ask your mama.

Dreams and nightmares!
Nightmares, dreams, oh!
Dreaming that the Negroes
Of the South have taken over--
Voted all the Dixiecrats
Right out of power--

Comes the COLORED HOUR:
Martin Luther King is Governor of Georgia,
Dr. Rufus Clement his Chief Adviser,
A. Philip Randolph the High Grand Worthy.
In white pillared mansions
Sitting on their wide verandas,
Wealthy Negroes have white servants,
White sharecroppers work the black plantations,
And colored children have white mammies:
Mammy Faubus
Mammy Eastland
Mammy Wallace
Dear, dear darling old white mammies--
Sometimes even buried with our family.
Dear old
Mammy Faubus!

Culture, they say, is a two-way street:
Hand me my mint julep, mammny.
Hurry up!
Make haste!

Comments about Cultural Exchange

It is so sad to know, but this poem clearly shows, black people don't want an equal right actually, but want to rule us.
'Wealthy Negroes have white servants, White sharecroppers work the black plantations, And colored children have white mammies' - Wish, things could be truly so!
Dreams and nightmares! Nightmares, dreams, oh! Dreaming that the Negroes Of the South have taken over- Voted all the Dixiecrats Right out of power- culture is powerful religion; can change the mind of realistic life anytime anyone; superb poem penned the master poet
A stellar work from the hands of Mr Hughes, you can feel the pain the sadness and indignation in his words, he goes through the gamut in this one from the harsh realities and the cold horrors of living a life because of his pigmentation, to a dream of a world where he wasn't an outsider, The worse thing about this poem is that it is still relevant today. Glad this was chosen as POTD
Dreams and nightmares! Nightmares, dreams, oh! Dreaming that the Negroes Of the South have taken over- Culture is a two way street. very fine thinking, tony


Rating Card

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224 total ratings

Other poems of HUGHES

Dreams

Hold fast to dreams
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird
That cannot fly.

As I Grew Older

It was a long time ago.
I have almost forgotten my dream.
But it was there then,
In front of me,

Mother To Son

Well, son, I'll tell you:
Life for me ain't been no crystal stair.
It's had tacks in it,
And splinters,

Dream Deferred

What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up
Like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore--

Cross

My old man's a white old man
And my old mother's black.
If ever I cursed my white old man
I take my curses back.

I, Too

I, too, sing America.

I am the darker brother.
They send me to eat in the kitchen