Magazine, website & books written by teens since 1989

Black Boy This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

   Racism has left an ugly stain on America's history thathas faded somewhat with time, yet has not disappeared. The era of slavery and JimCrow has been captured in books, but emotion, personality, empathy, drama andpassion are overlooked in an attempt to produce objective textbooks (usuallywritten by white men).

Black Boy, Richard Wright's piercing autobiography,is a naked account of those feelings. Recording his hellish story from the age offour, Wright displays a life heavily laced with blatant white supremacy.Encouraged by his family to conform to the inferior mold Southern whites hadfashioned for him, Wright ultimately overcomes this role and providesinspiration.

Impoverished and unskilled, Wright struggled from his birth.Although his father left his family early on and his mother fell ill, forcing thefamily to move in with his fanatically pious grandmother, Wright displayeddetermination to acquire a job in order to purchase food and clothing for school.

"My position in the household was a delicate one," Wrightexplains. "I was a minor, an uninvited dependent, a blood relative whoprofessed no salvation and whose soul stood in mortal peril." He was forcedto succumb to his grandmother's dictating rule, no matter how ridiculous (such asattending all-night prayer sessions).

He was fired from a string of jobsfor not following the white employers' idea of social hierarchy. Confused by hisinability to obey white men's rules, Wright grew frustrated. His problemaccepting authority seeped into the church, which only created more frictionbetween him and his grandmother.

By recording the experience of growingup a poor black boy in the South, Wright not only shocks the reader into sympathyfor his condition, but also urges each to take a close look at the currentsituation.

The autobiography uses techniques so well usually reserved forfiction, that many experts question if these events are nonfiction. When read assuch, however, Black Boy sparks many emotions that are sometimes lost in today'ssociety, where racism is perhaps not as overt as it used to be.

Saturatedin Southern racism and Wright's personal responses, Black Boy accurately depictsthe Jim Crow days. Wright has spoken for the many generations subjected toAmerican genocide and apartheid, and he has spoken very well.


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.





Join the Discussion


This article has 2 comments. Post your own!

tishah said...
Jun. 20, 2013 at 4:22 pm:
great review! I read the book for a summer assignment and really enjoyed it. 
 
Reply to this comment Post a new comment
 
lala_voo said...
Apr. 27, 2010 at 10:05 pm:
WOW was all i can say WOW keep it comeing
 
Reply to this comment Post a new comment
 
Site Feedback