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Let America be America Again

"Let America Be America Again" is a poem written in 1935 by American poet Langston Hughes. It was originally published in the July 1936 issue of Esquire Magazine. It was later republished in the 1937 issue of Kansas Magazine and was revised and included in a small collection of Langston Hughes poems entitled A New Song, published by the International Workers Order in 1938.[1][2]

The poem speaks of the American dream that never existed for the lower-class American and the freedom and equality that every immigrant hoped for but never achieved. In his poem, Hughes represents not only African Americans, but other economically disadvantaged and minority groups as well. Besides criticizing the unfair life in America, the poem conveys a sense of hope that the American Dream is soon to come.[citation needed]

The title of this poem was used by Democratic United States senator John Kerry as a campaign slogan in his 2004 presidential campaign.[3] In 2011 an exploratory committee for conservative Republican former senator Rick Santorum used a variant of the phrase ("Fighting to make America America again") on its website; told of the slogan's derivation from the Hughes poem, Santorum stated he had "nothing to do with" its use by the committee.[4] Additionally, the satirical website refutes the idea Santorum appropriated Hughes's language, claiming that the phrase "make America America again" is "not unique nor very original."[5]


  1. ^ The Collected Works of Langston Hughes: Gospel plays, operas, and later, p. xv.
  2. ^ Wagner, Jean, Black Poets of the United States: From Paul Laurence Dunbar to Langston Hughes, p. 451.
  3. ^ Halbfinger, David (June 1, 2004). "In Five Words by Langston Hughes, Kerry Aides Hear a Campaign Slogan". The New York Times. Retrieved 8 March 2009. 
  4. ^ Kellogg, Carolyn (April 16, 2011). "Rick Santorum says he had 'nothing to do with' campaign slogan taken from Langston Hughes poem". Los Angeles Times. 
  5. ^ "Did Former Fox News Contributer [sic] Rick Santorum Rip Off Langston Hughes?". Restoring Truthiness. 

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