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“I, Too” is a poem by Langston Hughes that first appeared in his debut collection from 1926, The Weary Blues. This poem may read as a powerful rejoinder to Walt Whitman’s 1860 poem, “I Hear America Singing,” the speaker of which celebrates a long list of skilled workers whose labor formed the bedrock of American society. Yet nowhere does Whitman recognize the contributions of African-descended peoples, whose forced labor long fueled the American economy. Thus, when Hughes begins his poem by saying, “I, too, sing America,” he’s inserting himself—and other Black people—into Whitman’s limited vision of American society.

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