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ERIC Number: EJ806466
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Jul-25
Pages: 1
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0009-5982
Richard Wright and the Agony over Integration
Cassuto, Leonard
Chronicle of Higher Education, v54 n46 pB12 Jul 2008
Richard Wright's literary career begins with a lynching and ends with a serial murderer. "Big Boy Leaves Home," the 1936 story that leads off Wright's first book, "Uncle Tom's Children" (1938), renders the vicious mob-execution of a young black man falsely accused of rape. "A Father's Law," Wright's last novel, left unfinished at his unexpected death in 1960 and published this year on the centennial of his birth, centers on a murderer terrorizing the Chicago suburb of Brentwood Park. In between those bookends lie some of the most violent and disturbing stories in all of American literature--and also the flowering of the American civil-rights movement. Wright's books helped clear the way for the emergence of Martin Luther King Jr., the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and the myriad others who fought segregation in the United States in the 1950s and 60s. However, unlike King and his fellow crusaders, Wright never acquired the language to imagine what integration might look like. Wright's characters can only speak and act the language of frustration, anger, and violence. His "A Father's Law" was a representation of his inability to embrace the American civil-rights movement's nonviolent mission.
Chronicle of Higher Education. 1255 23rd Street NW Suite 700, Washington, DC 20037. Tel: 800-728-2803; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A