Richard Wright: Black Boy

(3022 words)
  • Patrick Chura (University of Akron )

Richard Wright’s Black Boy, published by Harper & Brothers in 1945 to critical acclaim and controversy, held top spot on the national bestseller list for six weeks and eventually went through over half a million copies in its first year. Famously denounced by Mississippi senator and white supremacist Theodore Bilbo as a “dirty… filthy… obscene piece of writing” ( Rowley 319), the book has since taken its rightful place as a classic of American nonfiction, a work of mythic power and deep insight that speaks to “the hunger for life that gnaws in us all, to keep alive in our hearts a sense of the inexpressibly human” (Black Boy 384).

Wright’s autobiography, originally titled American Hunger,…

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Chura, Patrick . "Black Boy". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 26 May 2015
[, accessed 01 October 2016.]