Understanding Richard Wright's Black Boy: A Student Casebook to Issues, Sources, and Historical Documents
From Frederick Douglass, Booker T. Washington, and W.E.B. Du Bois on the one hand, to Black Codes, Jim Crow laws, and white supremacist pronouncements on the other, Felgar creates a dialogue between the voices of oppressed blacks, including Richard Wright, and those of oppressing whites over the issue of race and racism. Students will be able to analyze a variety of perspectives on this issue from the earliest days of the American republic to the present day. Felgar also includes primary documents on the American dream of success, which has remained elusive for so many blacks. A chapter on the American autobiographical tradition uses excerpts from Ben Franklin's autobiography, as well as from those by Frederick Douglass, Booker T. Washington, and W.E.B. Du Bois, to place Wright squarely in the tradition of this genre and show that Wright was more a believer in the myth of perpetual upward mobility than he realized. In a chapter called The Dream Deferred, documents show how freed blacks were just as enslaved by new and restrictive laws after the Civil War as they had been under slavery. Each chapter concludes with study questions, ideas for written and oral examination, and suggested readings to aid students in examining the issues raised by Wright's autobiography.
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He asked , “ Are ye a slave for life ? ” I told him that I was . The good Irishman seemed to be deeply affected by the statement . He said to the other that it was a pity so fine a little fellow as myself should be a slave for life .
I was asked not long ago to tell something about the sports and pastimes that I engaged in during my youth . Until that question was asked it had never occurred to me that there was no period of my life that was devoted to play .
... Finot might well have asked Wright the same question . FROM JEAN FINOT , RACE PREJUDICE ( 1906 ) > But when the slaves of the prejudice of races see themselves forced to render justice to the Negro intelligence which is equal in ...
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The Autobiographical Tradition
The American Dream of Success
The Dream Deferred
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