Understanding Richard Wright's Black Boy: A Student Casebook to Issues, Sources, and Historical Documents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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They gave tongue to interesting thoughts of my own soul , which had frequently flashed through my mind , and died away for want of utterance . The moral which I gained from the dialogue was the power of truth over the conscience of even ...
a consciousness , this sense of always looking at one's soul by the tape of a world that looks on in amused contempt and pity . One ever feels his twoness , -an American , a Negro ; two souls , two thoughts , two unreconciled strivings ...
... or her coarse and cruel wit with loving jovial good - humor ? or her vulgar music with the soul of the Sorrow Songs ? ... and the spiritual striving of the freedmen's sons is the travail of souls whose burden is almost beyond the ...
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The Autobiographical Tradition
The American Dream of Success
The Dream Deferred
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