In 1926, Langston Hughes became a leading figure of the Harlem Renaissance with the publication of his debut poetry collection, The Weary Blues. “I, Too” was among the poems included in that landmark collection (though under the title “Epilogue”), and it quickly became a key text of Black empowerment. The speaker of “I, Too” is a Black man who works as a servant in a wealthy white household. As the family’s “darker brother” (line 2), the speaker occupies a marginal position in the household, almost but not quite part of the family. He feels his marginal status most acutely when company comes for dinner and he’s forced to eat in the kitchen. Despite this exclusion, the speaker focuses on growing stronger and more confident in preparation for a day, coming soon, when he will finally take his rightful seat at the table. Though the poem’s central conflict plays out in a domestic setting, it’s important to note that this setting works as an extended metaphor for American society at large. Thus, when the speaker plans to take his rightful seat at the table, he’s also anticipating a future where he and other Black folks will have a meaningful voice in the social and political life of the country.