Richard Wright


Feb. 3, 2005, midnight | By Feza Kikaya | 15 years, 8 months ago


Photo: Richard Wright, author of "Native Son" and "Black Boy."

Richard Wright, an author best known for "Native Son" and "Black Boy," was born on Sept. 4, 1908 in Natchez, Mississippi to his mother who was a schoolteacher and his father, an illiterate sharecropper. Wright was exposed to racial hatred at an early age when his uncle was lynched by a white mob.

At the age of 19, Wright decided he wanted to become a writer so he moved to Chicago where he had access to public libraries and became familiar with the works of Dostoevsky, Theodore Dreiser and Henry and William James. During his time there, he served as a postal clerk, and in 1929, he worked for the Federal Negro Theatre Projects in the Works Progress Administration after several months of living on welfare and later wrote for the Illinois Writers' Project. After he joined the John Reed Club, Wright soon became involved with the Community Party. His essays and poems were published regularly in Communist papers, and in 1937, he became the editor for the Daily Worker.

Wright published numerous works throughout his career as a writer, beginning with "Native Son" in 1940. One year later, he published "Twelve Million Black Voices: A Folk History of the Negro of the United States," and in 1944, his "I Tried to be a Communist" piece became available and reflected his withdrawal from the party. "Black Boy," his autobiography, was released in 1945 and sold 400,000 copies within three months of publication.

The novelist later moved to Paris with his wife and daughter after the release of his autobiography. There, he published "The Outsider" (1953), "Savage Holiday" (1954) and "The Long Dream" (1958); however, none of these novels succeeded. In 1954, he wrote "Black Power" after visiting Africa and in 1956, published "The Color Curtain" based on his short time in Spain. Wright died from illness in 1960 at a hospital in Paris.

Information has been compiled from Biography.com.



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