Richard Wright’s ‘Black Boy’ Celebrates 75th Anniversary

Posted Posted in Anniversaries

[By: DeAsia Paige] On Tuesday, February 18, Harper Perennial released a new edition of Richard Wright’s classic memoir Black Boy to commemorate the 75th anniversary of that work’s publication. The coming-of-age story, originally published in 1945, chronicles Wright’s upbringing in the Jim Crow South, his eventual move to Chicago and evolution as a major writer through his involvement with the Communist Party.  Black Boy explores […]

Subversive Journalism: A Review of Earle V. Bryant’s BYLINE RICHARD WRIGHT: ARTICLES FROM THE DAILY WORKER AND NEW MASSES (2015)

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[by Jerry W. Ward, Jr.] Such recent dedicated scholarship as Mary Helen Washington’s The Other Blacklist: The African American Literary and Cultural Left of the 1950s and William J. Maxwell’s F.B. Eyes: How J. Edgar Hoover’s Ghostreaders Framed African American Literature serve as a warrant for thinking of contemporary literary and cultural studies as components of a mega-surveillance machine. Readers and critics cooperate, often unwittingly, […]

Performance: Richard Wright in 2015

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[by Jerry W. Ward, Jr.] Despite my having “performed” Richard Wright with a modicum of success some years ago in a Chautauqua series sponsored by the Mississippi Humanities Council, I know virtually nothing about performance theory as an “interdisciplinary area of study and critical method,” as it is discussed in the recent book Black Performance Theory (2014), edited by Thomas F. DeFrantz and Anita Gonzalez. […]

Genius and DAEMONIC GENIUS: Crafting a Biography of Richard Wright

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[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

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[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

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[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 […]