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Black Boy (1945) is a memoir by black American author Richard Wright, detailing his upbringing.Wright describes his youth in the South: Mississippi, Arkansas and Tennessee, and his eventual move to Chicago, where he establishes his writing career and becomes involved with the Communist Party.Wright negates the racially based oppression he endured through his ability to read and write with eloquence and credibility as well as with his courage to speak back against the dominant norms of society that are holding him back.
At this time, his family is still suffering in poverty, his mother is disabled by a stroke, and his relatives constantly interrogate him about his atheism and "pointless" reading.
He finds a job at the post office, where he meets white men who share his cynical view of the world and religion.
He continues to feel more out of place as he grows older and comes in contact with the Jim Crow racism of the 1920s South.
He finds these circumstances generally unjust and fights attempts to quell his intellectual curiosity and potential as he dreams of moving north and becoming a writer.
Despite the efforts of various people and groups to take Wright in, he essentially raises himself with no central home.
He quickly chafes against his surroundings, reading instead of playing with other children, and rejecting the church in favor of agnosticism at a young age.
They invite him to the John Reed Club, an organization that promotes the arts and social change.
He becomes involved with a magazine called Left Front and slowly immerses himself in the writers and artists in the Communist Party.
The genre of Richard Wright’s Black Boy is a longstanding controversy due to the ambiguity.
Black Boy follows Wright’s childhood with a degree of accuracy that suggests it exists as an autobiography, although Wright never confirmed nor denied whether the book was entirely autobiographical or fictitious.