Understanding Richard Wright's Black Boy: A Student Casebook to Issues, Sources, and Historical Documents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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It deals largely with a question that the United States still seems unwilling to face : Why are some Americans , no matter how capable , resourceful , intelligent , and trustworthy , mistreated for no discernible reason other than that ...
She did not deem it impudent or unmannerly for a slave to look her in the face . The meanest slave was put fully at ease in her presence , and none left without feeling better for having seen her . Her face was made of heavenly smiles ...
Absorbed in " lodge ” talk , neither of the oddly assorted cronies cared much for a drizzle overhead or mire underfoot ; but a splash of black mud in the face must necessarily command some attention . This surprise came suddenly to both ...
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The Autobiographical Tradition
The American Dream of Success
The Dream Deferred
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