Understanding Richard Wright's Black Boy: A Student Casebook to Issues, Sources, and Historical Documents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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Felgar : Wright almost always makes judgments about the black women in the book based on their physical appearance . Do you recall this attitude toward black women as being true of both black and white males when you were growing up ?
The women were separated from their husbands as it pleased their masters , the children were transported if necessary far from their parents , the young girls were delivered to the caprice of the planters and their employees , and all ...
White men who commit this crime against Negro women are equal to the Negroes who are guilty of it against White women . Let us not forget , however , that all the cases of lynching are not solely due to outrages against White women .
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The Autobiographical Tradition
The American Dream of Success
The Dream Deferred
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