For a whole race of people freed from slavery with nothing - without money, without work, without education - it has not always been easy to hold fast to dreams. But the negro people believed in the American Dream. Now, since almost a hundred years of freedom, we've come a long ways but there's still a long way to go for the Negro and democracy. This is a poem called 'I, Too'.

I, Too

I, too, sing America.

I am the darker brother.
They send me to eat in the kitchen
When company comes,
But I laugh,
And eat well,
And grow strong.

I’ll be at the table
When company comes.

Nobody’ll dare
Say to me,
“Eat in the kitchen,”

They’ll see how beautiful we are
And be ashamed –

I, too, am America.

from The Collected Poems of Langston Hughes (Alfred Knopf, 2002), copyright © Langston Hughes, by permission of David Higham Associates. Recording from The Voice of Langston Hughes, Smithsonian Folkways 47001, copyright © 1955, used by permission of Smithsonian Folkways Recordings

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