September 4, 1908: Richard Wright's Birthday

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Richard Wright, Black writer, Black short story writer, Black novel writer, on this day in history,

This Day In History

Famed writer Richard Nathaniel Wright was born September 4, 1908. Wright went from being born on a plantation and living in an orphanage to being a famous writer. His life was tumultuous at times. Nevertheless, through his writing, Richard Wright gave the world amazing stories and he has impacted both ensuing writers and readers with his work. Today, We Buy Black is proud to recognize Wright’s contributions to the Black community and the world.

Childhood

Richard Wright was born on a plantation to a sharecropper named Nathaniel Wright and a school teacher named Ella Wilson. They lived on a plantation in Roxi, Mississippi. Their poverty forced the Wrights to move to Memphis, Tennessee in 1913. Shortly thereafter, Wright’s father abandoned them. Wright’s mother was left to raise young Richard on her own. His mother struggled to make ends meet. Despite her background in education, she was forced to take a job as a cook. Money grew more and more scarce, making it more difficult for her to take care of young Richard. As a result, Wright spent some time in an orphanage. After his mother fell ill, she and young Richard moved to Jackon, Mississippi. There, they lived with Wright’s maternal grandmother. Wright attended a public school, as well as a Seventh Day Adventist School but he never gained more than a ninth-grade education. Despite his lack of a formal education, Wright had a strong affinity for reading and writing. Richard Wright, Black writer, Black short story writer, Black novel writer, on this day in history,

Career

In 1924, the Black-owned newspaper, The Southern Register, published 16-year-old Wright’s first short story. His story was titled The Voodoo of Hell’s Half Acre. Wright then began working odd jobs that enabled him to leave the oppressive Jim Crow South. He moved to Chicago, Illinois and began working as a post office clerk. Once the Great Depression hit in 1929, he lost his job and immediately joined the Communist Party. Wright used his talent to write and edit for two Communist publications, Daily Worker and New Masses. In 1931, his first major short story, Superstition, was published. Shortly thereafter, he became a member of the Federal Writers’ Project. He was more determined than ever to become a well-to-do writer. Wright moved to New York in the hopes of getting published. He wrote a collection of four short stories, titled Uncle Tom’s Children. His collection was published in 1938 and it earned him a Guggenheim Fellowship with which he wrote his first novel, Native Son. His novel went on to become the first Black-written novel selected by the Book-of-the-Month Club

Personal Life

Shortly after publishing his first novel, Wright started his family. From there, he continued writing. He wrote his autobiography, titled Black Boy, as well as fiction and non-fiction books. He became an expatriate and gained his French citizenship in the late 1950s. Around that same time, he was diagnosed with aerobic dysentery. Richard Wright died on November 28, 1960, in Paris, France. He was 52 years old.

For Writers

As the editor of We Buy Black’s blog and a writer myself, I truly appreciate writers. Therefore, I’ve compiled a list of products that any proud Black writer should have. Check them out below. If you like them, purchase them and then tell me how you like them in the comments section below.

1. Great Black Authors Poster

When writers read books, we don’t simply see the words and how they’re connected to the greater story overall. Writers see the metaphysics of the words. Writers see the long hours spent contemplating which word to use where. Writing is a meticulous puzzle that must be constructed with precision. And when writers read great literary pieces and their respective authors, we can draw inspiration from them. The Great Black Authors Poster provides that inspiration. Click here to get your Great Black Authors Poster today. Richard Wright, Black writer, Black short story writer, Black novel writer, on this day in history, Black authors

2. Journey to Authorship

Two of the most difficult things for writers is to obtain representation and to get published. But the latter of the two may be more obtainable than the former. Whether you go the traditional route and look for an agent, work with an independent publisher, or you decide to self-publish, becoming an author is a journey. In Tracy R. Powell’s book, Journey to Authorship: A Pocket Guide for Writers, she outlines her journey to authorship. It’s a compelling read that all aspiring authors should read while on their own journey. Click here to order your copy. Richard Wright, Black writer, Black short story writer, Black novel writer, on this day in history, Black authors

3. Writeous T-shirt

Being a writer is difficult. Not only are you attempting to engage others in your work, you’re also striving to tell a story that matters. Being a Black writer is even more difficult. We’re charged with the task of writing stories that otherwise may never be told. Our communities have been torn asunder and our histories have been distorted or omitted. It is our duty and obligations as writers to piece those stories together and rebuild our communities. Let everyone know that you’re a proud, conscious Black writer with this Writeous T-shirt. Click here to order yours today. Richard Wright, Black writer, Black short story writer, Black novel writer, on this day in history, Black authors]]>

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