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Black Boy by Richard Wright

Black Boy (original 1945; edition 1989)

by Richard Wright (Author)

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4,225551,966 (3.98)178
The author relates his life as an African American growing up in the South during the Jim Crow years.
Title:Black Boy
Authors:Richard Wright (Author)
Info:Perennial Library (1989)
Collections:Your library

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Black Boy by Richard Wright (1945)



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» See also 178 mentions

English (54)  French (1)  All languages (55)
Showing 1-5 of 54 (next | show all)
The only time I ever ended up in detention in High School was when I wanted to read this instead of attending a pep rally. It was worth it, I regret nothing. ( )
  ShannonRose4 | Sep 15, 2020 |
The only time I ever ended up in detention in High School was when I wanted to read this instead of attending a pep rally. It was worth it, I regret nothing. ( )
  ShannonRose4 | Sep 15, 2020 |
Rightfully a classic.

In this book, written in the 1930s, Wright describes his childhood in the south. In his early years he lived a life free of white-black conflict, and therefore did not develop any particular feeling toward whites. So when he was a little older, living in Mississippi, and starting to see the differences in the ways whites behaved toward blacks and vice versa, he had trouble with it.

Unlike so many others, he never did shake that feeling that something was wrong. He never accepted the position of inferior, even when he tried to fake it. And he was not good at faking it. Time and again black and white people alike chastized him for not reacting properly and he simply did not get it.

As he grew older and more aware, he became angrier. He would ask other blacks why they accepted being treated as slaves. He would answer white people's questions honestly and see the quick thread of fear and anger as the white person realized he knew what was going on.

He realized too that both colors were caught in this situation. Yes, the whites had the privileges, but they had to keep up a pretense that all blacks were lazy and stupid, and many of them knew somewhere inside that it wasn't true. Which made them defensive and angrier.

Wright's understanding of his position, his reading of others, is remarkable. Out of a lifetime of being put down, not only by white but by his own family, he stands up, he remains confident and assured of his worth. In this beautifully-written autobiography he lays it all out for the rest of us to see and digest. ( )
  slojudy | Sep 8, 2020 |
This is a beautifully written memoir that follows the author's life from his first memory until he becomes a serious writer. The subtitle of the text is "American Hunger"; Wright describes his hunger, both physical and metaphysical. In his childhood through early adulthood he was physically hungry; as he develops into a writer he describes a desire to "create a sense of the hunger for life that gnaws in us all, to keep alive in our hearts a sense of the inexpressibly human".
Throughout the book, Wright explores the power of words.. he sees the effects of taking his father's words literally, the consequences of not using "sir" when speaking to white boys he encounters on an errand, or referring to his white supervisor by last name only, forgetting the "Mr."
Should he tell his boss that he needs a day off for a postal exam? How will this be interpreted?
When he reads a book by H.L. Menken, he realizes that words can be used a weapon. He begins to read and books become a window into the lives of those around him, giving him more understanding of human nature.
He decides to collect stories of people he knows, so that he can provide an understanding of the "lives of black folk". Those around him don't understand his motives; they cannot see the value of providing others with a window into their lives. Undeterred, he vows to "build a bridge of words between himself and the world."
This book should be added to anti-racist reading lists that are so prevalent in our country today. Wright did achieve his dream of a "vast unity" through his words. ( )
  Chrissylou62 | Aug 1, 2020 |
I wish the author explained why he attempted to burn the family home down. ( )
  JoeHamilton | Jul 21, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 54 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (18 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Wright, Richardprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Fisher, Dorothy CanfieldIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fonzi, BrunoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jones, Edward P.Forewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Reilly, JohnAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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They meet with darkness in the daytime And they grope at noonday as in the night... -- Job
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One winter morning in the long-ago, four-year old days of my life I found myself standing before a fireplace, warming my hands over a mound of glowing coals, listening to the wind whistle past the house outside.
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The author relates his life as an African American growing up in the South during the Jim Crow years.

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