Richard Wright


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Richard Wright

  1. 1. Richard Wright
  2. 2. <ul><li>Richard Wright, the grandson of slaves, was born on a plantation near Natchez, Mississippi, on September 4, 1908. </li></ul><ul><li>His father was an illiterate sharecropper and his mother was a well-educated school teacher. </li></ul>
  3. 3. <ul><li>The family’s extreme poverty forced them to move to Memphis when Richard was six years old. </li></ul>
  4. 4. <ul><li>His father left the family for another woman and his mother was forced to work as a cook in order to support the family. </li></ul><ul><li>Richard briefly stayed in an orphanage. </li></ul><ul><li>His mother became ill while living in Memphis, so the family moved to Jackson, Mississippi, and lived with Richard’s grandmother. </li></ul>
  5. 5. <ul><li>Richard’s grandmother, a devout Seventh Day Adventist, enrolled him in a Seventh Day Adventist school near Jackson at the age of twelve. </li></ul><ul><li>He also attended a local public school for a few years. </li></ul>
  6. 6. <ul><li>In the spring of 1924 the Southern Register , a local black newspaper, printed his first story, “The Voodoo of Hell’s Half Acre.” </li></ul><ul><li>From 1925 to 1927, he worked several menial jobs in Jackson and Memphis. </li></ul><ul><li>During this time he continued writing and discovered the works of H.L. Mencken, Theodore Dreiser, and Sinclair Lewis. </li></ul>
  7. 7. <ul><li>In 1927 he moved to Chicago, where he became a Post Office clerk until the Great Depression forced him to take on various temporary positions. </li></ul>
  8. 8. <ul><li>During this time he became involved with the Communist Party, writing articles and stories for both the Daily Worker and New Masses . </li></ul>
  9. 9. <ul><li>In April 1931 he published his first major story, “Superstition,” in Abbott’s Monthly . </li></ul>
  10. 10. <ul><li>His ties to the Communist Party continued after moving to New York in 1937. </li></ul><ul><li>He became the Harlem editor of the Daily Worker and helped edit a short-lived literary magazine, New Challenge . </li></ul>
  11. 11. <ul><li>In 1938 four of his stories were collected as Uncle Tom’s Children . </li></ul>
  12. 12. <ul><li>In 1939, he married Dhimah Rose Meadman, a white dancer, but the two separated shortly thereafter. </li></ul><ul><li>He completed his first novel, Native Son in 1940. </li></ul>
  13. 13. <ul><li>In 1941, he married Ellen Poplar, a white member of the Communist Party, and they had two daughters, Julia in 1942 and Rachel in 1949. </li></ul>
  14. 14. <ul><li>In 1944 he broke with the Communist Party. </li></ul><ul><li>He moved to Paris in 1946. </li></ul><ul><li>After becoming a French citizen in 1947, he continued to travel throughout Europe, Asia, and Africa, and these experiences led to a number of nonfiction works. </li></ul>
  15. 15. <ul><li>In his last years, he was plagued by illness and financial hardship. </li></ul><ul><li>Throughout this period he wrote approximately 4,000 English Haikus and another novel, The Long Dream , in 1958. </li></ul>
  16. 16. <ul><li>Richard Wright died of a heart attack in Paris on 28th November, 1960. </li></ul>
  17. 18. Publications <ul><li>Drama: </li></ul><ul><li>Native Son (The Biography of a Young American): A Play in Ten Scenes 1941. </li></ul><ul><li>Poetry: </li></ul><ul><li>Haiku: This Other World . 1998. </li></ul>
  18. 19. Fiction: <ul><li>Uncle Tom’s Children: Four Novellas . 1938. </li></ul><ul><li>Uncle Tom’s Children: Five Long Stories . 1938. </li></ul><ul><li>Bright and Morning Star 1938. </li></ul><ul><li>Native Son . 1940. </li></ul><ul><li>The Outsider . 1953. </li></ul><ul><li>Savage Holiday . 1954. </li></ul><ul><li>The Long Dream . 1958. </li></ul><ul><li>Eight Men 1961. </li></ul><ul><li>Lawd Today . 1963. </li></ul>
  19. 20. Nonfiction: <ul><li>How “Bigger” Was Born; the Story of Native Son 1940. </li></ul><ul><li>12 Million Black Voices: A Folk History of the Negro in the United States. 1941. </li></ul><ul><li>Black Boy: A Record of Childhood and Youth. 1945. </li></ul><ul><li>Black Power: A Record of Reactions in a Land of Pathos. 1954. </li></ul><ul><li>The Color Curtain: A Report on the Bandung Conference. 1956. </li></ul><ul><li>Pagan Spain. 1957. </li></ul><ul><li>White Man, Listen! 1957. </li></ul><ul><li>Letters to Joe C. Brown. 1968. </li></ul><ul><li>American Hunger. (Continuation of Black Boy .) 1977. </li></ul>
  20. 21. Media Adaptations <ul><li>Stage Plays: </li></ul><ul><li>Native Son , by Wright and Paul Green. New York, St. James Theatre, 24 June 1941. </li></ul><ul><li>Daddy Goodness , by Wright and Louis Sapin. New York, St. Mark’s Playhouse, 4 June 1968. </li></ul><ul><li>Motion Pictures: </li></ul><ul><li>Native Son. Dir. Pierre Chenal. Screenplay by Wright. Classic Films, 1950. (Wright starred as Bigger Thomas.) </li></ul><ul><li>Native Son. Dir. Jerrold Freedman. Cinecom Pictures and American Playhouse (PBS), 1986. </li></ul>