Hughes strong sense of racial pride helped him promote equality, celebrate African- American culture, and condemn racism through his poetry, novels, plays, essays, and children's books (America’s Library)....
One of Hughes' finest essays appeared in the in 1926, entitled "The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain". It spoke of Black writers and poets, "who would surrender racial pride in the name of a false integration," where a talented Black writer would prefer to be considered a poet, not a Black poet, which to Hughes meant he subconsciously wanted to write like a white poet. Hughes argued, "no great poet has ever been afraid of being himself." He wrote in this essay, "We younger Negro artists now intend to express our individual dark-skinned selves without fear or shame. If white people are pleased we are glad. If they aren't, it doesn't matter. We know we are beautiful. And ugly too... If colored people are pleased we are glad. If they are not, their displeasure doesn't matter either. We build our temples for tomorrow, as strong as we know how and we stand on the top of the mountain, free within ourselves."
From The Browder File 22 Essays On African American Experience
In 1923, Hughes traveled abroad on a freighter to the Senegal, Nigeria,the Cameroons, Belgium Congo, Angola, and Guinea in Africa, and later toItaly and France, Russia and Spain. One of his favorite pastimes whetherabroad or in Washington, D.C. or Harlem, New York was sitting in the clubslistening to blues, jazz and writing poetry. Through these experiencesa new rhythm emerged in his writing, and a series of poems such as "TheWeary Blues" were penned. He returned to Harlem, in 1924, the periodknown as the Harlem Renaissance. During this period, his work was frequentlypublished and his writing flourished. In 1925 he moved to Washington, D.C.,still spending more time in blues and jazz clubs. He said, "I triedto write poems like the songs they sang on Seventh Street...(these songs)had the pulse beat of the people who keep on going." At this sametime, Hughes accepted a job with Dr. Carter G. Woodson, editor of the Journalof Negro Life and History and founder of Black History Week in 1926. Hereturned to his beloved Harlem later that year.