I, Too by Langston Hughes

“I, Too” is a poem written by
Langston Hughes

Langston Hughes is one of the many writers who was part of the
Harlem Renaissance

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What was the Harlem Renaissance movement?
a cultural movement of the 1920s

The speaker is the
voice of the poem

Inferences while reading a poem or stiry
come to conclusions based on the speaker’s choice of words and the details included in the writing.

“I, Too” is a poem written as a direct RESPONSE to
Walt Whitman’s poem called “I Hear America Singing”

SUMMARY of this poem

In this short poem, the speaker begins by claiming that he, too, “sing[s] America”. He goes on to note that he is “the darker brother”, referring to his skin color, and then makes reference to the fact that he is sent “to eat in the kitchen / when company comes”, as if he were a black slave in a white household. The oppression, however, doesn’t stop him from laughing & growing strong.

Then the speaker envisions a future in which he is no longer sent to the kitchen, in which no one would dare to call him unequal. They (presumably, the white majority) will see him as beautiful and “be ashamed” at their previous prejudice.

The poem concludes with the speaker asserting, again, that he (and, therefore, his race) is indeed American.