Genius and DAEMONIC GENIUS: Crafting a Biography of Richard Wright

[by Jerry W. Ward, Jr.] Crafting a biography of Richard Wright places special demands on a biographer.  Wright was a genius, a man who embodied profound intelligence and creative vision, but Mississippi in the early twentieth century wasn’t the place for nurturing his kind of genius.  Gertrude Stein seems to have appreciated the irony that blooms when a native daughter and a native son share […]

Richard Wright’s BLACK BOY and Seven Decades of Wisdom

[by Jerry W. Ward, Jr.] Published by Harper and Brothers  in 1945 as Black Boy: A Record of Childhood and Youth and by the Library of America in 1991 as Black Boy (American Hunger), Richard Wright’s classic autobiography has been a monument to intelligence, discipline, the exercise of relatively free will, and admirable use of self-reliance for 70 years. It has provided us with the […]

From the HBW Archives: Richard Wright’s Native Son (1940), On the Page and On the Screen

[By Meredith Wiggins] Here at the HBW offices, we’re working through the much-needed process of taking a complete re-inventory of our large collections of novels, plays, books of poetry, pamphlets, critical works, and other assorted African American cultural productions. It’s a fairly massive undertaking, but it’s led to some fantastic (re-)discoveries–especially for me, since I’m still fairly new to staff and haven’t had much of […]

Text Mining: Two Short Stories By Zora Neale Hurston and Richard Wright

[By Kenton Rambsy] Often times, there is a major emphasis placed on the ideological differences between Zora Neale Hurston and Richard Wright. In some respects, the tendency to highlight their differences overshadows their similarities. Besides, perhaps their writings have more in common than accounts of the differences imply. I recently decided to focus on what the writers had in common specifically concentrating on how they […]

Richard Wright, Zora Neale Hurston, and Bad Blood

[By Jerry Ward] A (1):  To read Wright’s review, click here. There you will find the in-house review by Hurston’s publisher and reviews by George Stevens, Lucille Thompson, Sheila Hibben, Otis Ferguson, Sterling Brown, and Alain Locke.  Wright was not the only male who did not praise Hurston’s novel in 1937. A (2):  As one result of American cultural games, the bad blood has been […]

Encountering Richard Wright & Jerry Ward

[By Howard Rambsy II] In July of 1996, shortly after completing my first year of undergrad at Tougaloo College in Mississippi, I was on a bus traveling from Paris to Dijon, France, where I would be taking summer courses. As I settled into the bus ride, I decided to look over reading material that I carried—the 1993 reissue of Richard Wright’s Black Boy. It turns […]