Black Boy

Black Boy

by Richard Wright

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Overview

Richard Wright's powerful and eloquent memoir of his journey from innocence to experience in the Jim Crow South—at once an unashamed confession and a profound indictment, Black Boy is a poignant and disturbing record of social injustice and human suffering.

When Black Boy exploded onto the literary scene in 1945, it caused a sensation. Orville Prescott of the New York Times wrote that “if enough such books are written, if enough millions of people read them maybe, someday, in the fullness of time, there will be a greater understanding and a more true democracy.” Opposing forces felt compelled to comment: addressing Congress, Senator Theodore Bilbo of Mississippi argued that the purpose of this book “was to plant seeds of hate and devilment in the minds of every American.” From 1975 to 1978, Black Boy was banned in schools throughout the United States for “obscenity” and “instigating hatred between the races.”

The once controversial, now classic American autobiography measures the brutality and rawness of the Jim Crow South against the sheer desperate will it took to survive. Richard Wright grew up in the woods of Mississippi, with poverty, hunger, fear, and hatred. He lied, stole, and raged at those about him; at six he was a “drunkard,” hanging about in taverns. Surly, brutal, cold, suspicious, and self-pitying, he was surrounded on one side by whites who were either indifferent to him, pitying, or cruel, and on the other by blacks who resented anyone trying to rise above the common lot. The second half of the book focuses on Wright’s move north to Chicago, and his experiences with the Communist Party (a section that was pulled from the book’s original publication).

Black Boy is Richard Wright's compelling account of his journey. Deeply affecting and beautifully written, it is as timely today as when it was first published nearly seventy-five years ago.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780061935480
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 06/16/2009
Series: P.S. Series
Sold by: HARPERCOLLINS
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 448
Sales rank: 18,199
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

Richard Wright won international renown for his powerful and visceral depiction of the black experience. He stands today alongside such African-American luminaries as Zora Neale Hurston, James Baldwin, and Toni Morrison, and two of his novels, Native Son and Black Boy, are required reading in high schools and colleges across the nation. He died in 1960.

Date of Birth:

September 4, 1908

Date of Death:

November 28, 1960

Place of Birth:

Near Natchez, Mississippi

Place of Death:

Paris, France

Education:

Smith-Robertson Junior High in Jackson, Mississippi (1925)

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