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Wright, Richard

black james baldwin powerful

(US, 1908–60)

Wright was born in Mississippi but brought up in an orphanage in Memphis, Tennessee. His work is strongly autobiographical and was a powerful influence on black writing in the 1930s. Uncle Tom's Children (1938) won him a Guggenheim Fellowship, and was followed by the best-selling Native Son (1940) in which a black youth is executed for the murder of a white girl. The novel was described by James Baldwin as ‘the most powerful and celebrated statement we have yet of what it means to be a Negro in America’. Unflinchingly controversial, Wright's work contains highly evocative if slightly lurid accounts of life for poor blacks in the Southern states and demonstrates the depths to which people can sink as a result of racial oppression. At the same time, Wright emphasizes the spiritual and emotional power which such conditions can produce.

James Baldwin, Alice Walker, Toni Morrison. See BLACK & WHITE, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA  LM

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