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September 4, 1908, Roxie, Mississippi, United States
November 28, 1960, Paris, France
Novelist, Poet, Essayist, Short Story Writer
Drama, Fiction, Non-fiction, Autobiography
September 4, 1908 - November 28, 1960
Richard Wright was a novelist and short-story writer who was among the first African American writers to protest white treatment of Blacks, notably in his novel Native Son (1940) and his autobiography, Black Boy (1945). He inaugurated the tradition of protest explored by other Black writers after World War II.
“A Father’s Law”, “American Hunger”, “Black Boy”, “Eight Men”, “Native Son”, “Rite of Passage”, “The Man Who Lived Underground”, “The Outsider”, “Uncle Tom’s Children”, “White Man, Listen!”
Richard Nathaniel Wright was born on September 4, 1908, in Roxie, Mississippi. Schooled in Jackson, Mississippi, Wright only managed to get a ninth-grade education. He published his first short story at the age of 16. After leaving school, Wright worked a series of odd jobs, and in his free time, he delved into American literature. In 1932 he became a member of the Communist Party, and in 1937 he went to New York City, where he became Harlem editor of the Communist Daily Worker.
The main theme in Richard Wright's novels is racial discrimination and segregation against African Americans. This is also the main theme of his autobiographies and non-fiction writings. He is considered the founder of the genre of the "protest novel" in African American literature.
Wright died of a heart attack on November 28, 1960, in Paris, France. His naturalistic fiction no longer has the standing it once enjoyed, but his life and works remain exemplary. He is remembered as one of the first African American writers to protest white treatment of blacks.
“All literature is protest.”
“The artist must bow to the monster of his own imagination.”
“Men can starve from a lack of self-realization as much as they can from a lack of bread.”
“Love grows from stable relationships, shared experience, loyalty, devotion, trust.”
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