Langston was a published poet during his lifetime, but his works had mixed reviews. His works were often
ridiculed and rejected by his black colleagues for his unfavorable portrayal of a poor, poverty stricken black lifestyle.
He was accused of using racial stereotypes, and using the dialect of black Harlem. Hughes responded to the critics by saying
"I felt the masses of our people had as much in their lives to put into books as did those more fortunate
ones who had been born with some means and the ability to work up to a master's degree at a Northern college. … I knew
only the people I had grown up with, and they weren't people whose shoes were always shined, who had been to Harvard, or who
had heard of Bach. But they seemed to me good people, too."