Poet Langston Hughes remains essential to Black history and culture. Referring to the Harlem Renaissance as "expression of our individual dark-skinned selves," his columns, songs and poems loudly celebrated Black excellence at a time when adversaries focused on trauma. He wasn't naive to the troubles minorities faced, recognizing that Black people were still undervalued in a supposedly impartial society. In a way, his compositions arguably served as coping mechanisms.

Contemporary lyricists remain indebted to the late Hughes, but thankfully have over a dozen of his published works to study and apply to their everyday lives. Here are five poems that remain just as relevant now as they were when Hughes first released them.