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Publisher's Summary

Richard Wright's powerful and unforgettable memoir of his journey from innocence to experience in the Jim Crow South. At once an unashamed confession and a profound indictment, Black Boy is a poignant record of struggle and endurance - a seminal literary work that illuminates our own time.

When it exploded onto the literary scene in 1945, Black Boy was both praised and condemned. Orville Prescott of the New York Times wrote that "if enough such books are written, if enough millions of people read them maybe, someday, in the fullness of time, there will be a greater understanding and a more true democracy". Yet from 1975 to 1978, Black Boy was banned in schools throughout the United States for "obscenity" and "instigating hatred between the races".

The once controversial, now classic American autobiography measures the brutality and rawness of the Jim Crow South against the sheer desperate will it took to survive as a Black boy. Enduring poverty, hunger, fear, abuse, and hatred while growing up in the woods of Mississippi, Wright lied, stole, and raged at those around him - Whites indifferent, pitying, or cruel, and Blacks resentful of anyone trying to rise above their circumstances. Desperate for a different way of life, he made his way north, eventually arriving in Chicago, where he forged a new path and began his career as a writer. At the end of Black Boy, Wright sits poised with pencil in hand, determined to "hurl words into this darkness and wait for an echo". Seventy-five years later, his words continue to reverberate.

©2009 Richard Wright (P)2019 HarperCollins Publishers

What listeners say about Black Boy

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Outstanding

This book is amazing, I really enjoyed and I have recommended it to all of my family members. The story is still relevant today.

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Richard Wrights storytelling transcends time and culture

I had to read this book almost two decades ago in high school. I reluctant started reading and couldn’t put it down. Rereading it almost 20 years later, it’s just as good. He has a way of painting a mental picture with words that makes you really feel what he’s feeling. The narrator really does a great job of bringing the story to life too.

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The Foundation for Black Artists

Richard Wright is a literal revolutionary genius. Every chapter takes you on journey into the soul of black culture

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Recommended Read

The reader did an excellent job differentiating each character. Wright's view of himself is interesting compared to how he was viewed by others. This story related an important narrative about human relationships in America and how the concept of American realities shape them.

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A beautiful story...

Richard Wright's story is complex, hard to swallow, but yet beautiful. Beautiful in the sense that the odds were stacked against him. Imagine being one of the GREATEST writers in America history without a college education...

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Very good

I liked the book. I may be objective because I'm not into politics now or of the past but part two was a little too political for me.

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time well spent

This book is a fine example of a memoir with enough emotional depth to keep a heart engaged to the end. Even today, a hundred years after it took place, the words of Richard Wright ring pertinent.

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Richard Wright Master Story Teller

Black Boy is an enthralling telling of the author’s life. It rings true in its depictions and in the authenticity of the writer’s voice. To read it is to believe, even where you may disagree. The narration is commiserate with the excellence of the work. Very complementary.

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An excellent read

hearing the story of Richard Wright has left me with a legacy that I will never forget

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historical view of race relations

this first person account describes race identity and the struggle with injustice. it models a individuals decision making and personal journey of freedom of spirit despite ongoing society lags and limits. capitivating and inspiring

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