How Richard Wright’s Mother and Grandmother Taught him to Revere the Imaginative

[By Kenton Rambsy] A consideration of Richard Wright’s childhood provides an opportunity for continuing to unpack the often hidden baggage associated with “self-taught” education. Wright’s maternal grandmother and mother were likely key and early contributors to the young Wright’s intellectual development.    Hazel Rowley writes in Richard Wright: The Life and Times that Wright’s mother Ella Wilson Wright was a significant figure in his educational […]

Disrupting and Expanding the Notion of “Self-Taught”

[By Kenton Rambsy] Over the past month, I have commented on the particular ways in which a number of authors provide us readers with useful information concerning their views of how African American men acquire and share knowledge. These fictional representations have led me to think about autobiographical examples, specifically the narratives of Frederick Douglass and Richard Wright and the overall tradition of education in […]

The Significance of Early Support For Novelists: Richard Wright & Colson Whitehead

Howard Rambsy II is an associate professor of literature and the director of the Black Studies Program at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.     There are some notable similarities between the early literary careers of novelists Richard Wright and Colson Whitehead. In particular, the early, substantial support and endorsements that they received for their first published novels were remarkable and helped established them as notable literary […]

Richard Wright and Philosophy

Review By Guest Blogger Jerry W. Ward        We can expect a significant contribution to Wright studies in late 2011 when Philosophical Meditations on Richard Wright, edited by James Haile, is published by Lexington Publishers.  According to an email I received from Hail Philosophical Meditations on Richard Wright is an edited collection that brings together philosophers, literary theorists, and theologians on the intersection of […]

One Function of Speculation in African American Literary History

Welcome Guest Blogger: Professor Jerry W. Ward Predictions about the end of African American literature pivot on definitions of what is African American and on who is making the definition.  Such predictions are odd but not new.  Addressing European audiences in “The Literature of the Negro in the United States,” Richard Wright argued that “the Negro is America’s metaphor” and that what the metaphor signaled was a […]