By Lily O'Hara
Richard Wright was born on September 4, 1908 in Roxie, Mississippi. His father, Nathan Wright, was an illiterate sharecropper and his mother, Ella Wilson Wright, was a schoolteacher. His grandparents were slaves. Wright had a difficult childhood. In 1911, he was forced to move to Natchez with his mother and one year old brother, Leon Alan. In 1913, the family began work in a saw mill. In 1914, his father moved to Tennessee to support his wife and children, but later that year abandoned his family. Two years later, Wright’s mother got very sick and his grandmother came to live with the family and care for Wright’s mother. Wright and his brother lived in an orphanage shortly after this, then went to live with their aunt and uncle. His uncle was murdered by whites, and Wright had to move two more times. Wright’s mother became a cook to help support her family, but without their aunt’s help, Wright’s family wasn’t able to support themselves. They had to move again because they couldn’t pay rent. Soon after, his mother had a paralyzing stroke. Wright was separated from his brother and his grandpa died. It was very difficult for Wright to receive an education, but he still managed to do well in school. He entered Howe Institute in September, 1915. He entered school again in 1918, but had to leave soon after due to his mother’s health issues. Wright had many jobs when he was young to help support his family. These occupations included delivering newspapers and working with a traveling insurance company as a salesman.
More About Richard Wright
One of Wright's most famous books was Black Boy. This memoir told the story of his childhood. His other notable works included Uncle Tom’s Children, Native Son, and The Outsider.
Richard Wright's Life
Wright lived from September 4, 1908 to November 30, 1960. He died at 52 years old in a Paris clinic of a heart attack.
Men can starve from a lack of self-realization as much as they can from a lack of bread.
Men simply copied the realities of their hearts when they built prisons.