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Black Boy

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Autobiography of Richard Wright, published in 1945.

This story of the author's life to the age of 19, when he went north, incorporates an evocation of the South, rural and urban, as he moved from place to place, living mainly in Jackson, Miss., and Nashville, Tenn., with a succession of relatives after his father abandoned the family and his mother was incapacitated by paralyzing strokes. In addition to summoning up a sense of the sights, sounds, smells, and ways of life in the South, Wright explores the genesis of an artist, an individual who rebels against the beliefs and mores of pietistic relatives and against school-masters and schoolmates, finally finding a larger world in his voracious reading of Mencken, Dreiser, Sinclair Lewis, and other authors. The book also vividly presents racial conflict in the South, with its physical, political, social, and spiritual violence against blacks.

Subjects: Literature

Reference entries

Richard Wright (1908—1960)