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Richard Wright Native Son
Transcript of Richard Wright Native Son
A Native Son
Effect of Racism on the Oppressed
Writer, poet. Born Richard Nathaniel Wright on September 4, 1908 near Natchez, Mississippi.
The grandson of slaves and the son of a sharecropper, he went to school in Jackson, Mississippi only until the ninth grade, but had a story published at age 16 while working at various jobs in the South.
Effect of Racism on the Oppressor
20 year old Black male. Lives with mother and two younger siblings in a tenement apartment in Chicago. 9th grade education, petty thief. Acutely aware of racial dynamics and the threat of White society.
White. Daughter of Bigger's employer.
Young Lady of society, rumored Communist. Sympathetic to Bigger's station in life. Not sophisticated with the intricacies of race.
White. Communist boyfriend of Mary Dalton. Relationship a secret from Mary's family. Sympathetic to Bigger's station in life.
The Great Migration
Bias of the media
Prejudice of the American Justice System
Bigger's attorney. Belongs to the Labor Defenders, an organization associated with the Communist Party. Argues that institutionalized racism, not any inherent quality generates violence in Black communities
Between 1910 and 1930, 1.5 million African Americans migrated from the rural South to the Urban Centers of the North.
State and local laws enacted between 1876 and 1965 designed to perpetuate the segregation of Whites and Blacks
Played a key role in the U.S. Labor Movement during the 1920's-40's. Known for opposing racism, and promoting equal rights during the Jim Crow era. Sought to unite people across economic lines.
In 1927 he went to Chicago and worked briefly in the post office, but forced on relief by the Depression, he joined the Communist Party (1932).
In 1937 he moved to New York City, where he was an editor on the Communist newspaper, Daily Worker, but the publication of Native Son (1940) brought him overnight fame and freedom to write.
A stage version (by Wright and Paul Green) followed in 1941 (and Wright himself later played the title role in a film version made in Argentina).
Black Boy, published in 1945 is a moving account of his childhood and youth in the South and depicts extreme poverty and his accounts of racial violence against blacks.
The autobiography advanced Wright's reputation, but after living mainly in Mexico (1940–6) he had become so disillusioned with both the Communists and white America that he went off to Paris, where he lived the rest of his life as an expatriate.
Richard Nathaniel Wright died on November 28, 1960 in Paris, France.
White and Black (colors)