Character List

Nathaniel Wright Richard’s father, a victim of the Great Migration, who leaves his family early in Richard’s life. Alan Wright Richard’s brother; for most of his life, he lives in Detroit with Aunt Maggie. Grandpa Ella’s father, a disabled veteran of the Union Army. Granny Ella’s mother, a Seventh-Day Adventist […]

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About Black Boy

Written while Wright was a fervent Communist, the book explores the theory of human behavior determined by environment. Yet, innate in its fatalism is the author-narrator’s ultimate escape from a rigid set of rules for survival. In Wright’s boyhood, there was virtually no chance for a personality such as his […]

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Book Summary

The story begins when four-year-old Richard sets fire to his grandmother’s house in Jackson, Mississippi, and, as punishment, is nearly beaten to death by his mother. He recovers, and the brutal punishment establishes in Richard an ability to survive any circumstance. The family then moves to Memphis, Tennessee, where Richard’s […]

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