One of the most prominent African-American writers of the 20th century, Richard Wright illuminated and defined midcentury discussions of race in America. Black Boy, his coming-of-age autobiography published in 1945, is divided into two parts: “Southern Night” traces his violent childhood in the segregated South as he grapples with religion, bigotry and family tragedy; “The Horror and the Glory” follows him through young adulthood, his move to Chicago and his initiation into the Communist Party during the Great Depression. Wright soon became disenchanted with the party’s inertia and interparty politics, and he left the fold in 1942. But he held onto his idealistic belief in writing as a vehicle for change — a belief that powers Black Boy, which uses novelistic techniques to chart a young writer’s journey into manhood.
Autobiography / Memoir
Self-Help / Instructional