Biography of Wright, Richard 1908 -- 1960

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Wright, Richard 1908 -- 1960

Richard Wright was born on September 4, 1908, in Natchez, Mississippi. Richard's mother was a schoolteacher and his father who deserted the family when Richard was four was an illiterate sharecropper. The family moved to Memphis, Tennessee, in 1914. Young Richard's schooling was spotty; he did not attend a complete year of school until about the seventh grade due to constant moving. Although Richard was all ways on the move he maintained good grades, but never got to form a sense of security, nor any deep relationships. Richard had many experiences that are not fit for a child. One of which are the beatings he would receive. He was once nearly beaten to death by his own mother. He was often beaten by other relatives as well. He knew what it was to be a victim of racial hatred before he had learned to read, because he was living with his aunt when her husband was lynched by a White mob.

Richard's formal education ended after the ninth grade in Jackson, Mississippi. He was the valedictorian of his class. The fact that Richard's manuscript "The Voodoo of Hell's Half-acre" had been published in the local black paper set him apart from his classmates. He was a youth upon whom a "somberness of spirit" had already settled.

Early in age, Richard decided he wanted to be a writer. He moved to Chicago, where he had access to public libraries with the use of a white colleague's library card. He read all he could of Mencken, Dostoevsky, Theodore Dreiser, and Henry and William James. His interest in social problems, and psychology led to get to know the sociologist Louis Wirth. When Richard's mother, brother, and aunt came to Chicago, he supported them, holding many different jobs over...