Presentation of the poem
Title: “Merry-Go-Round” (1942)
Author: Langston Hughes
Langston Hughes (1901-1967) was an American poet, writer, and columnist. His poetry mainly explored the experience of black people in America. This is also shown in the poem “Merry-Go-Round”, which was published in the collection called Shakespeare in Harlem.
The poem “Merry-Go-Round” introduces a young black speaker who asks where the section for black people is on a merry-go-round. The speaker comes from the Southern United States, where black people are still segregated from the whites and where means of public transportation have special sections for black people, usually in the back. The speaker notices that a merry-go-round has no back section, as it is round, and asks whether there is a horse that black children can ride on.
Here, you can read an extract from our study guide: