Reference Entry

Wright, Richard

Ann Rayson

in American National Biography Online

Published in print January 1999 | ISBN: 9780195082098
Published online February 2000 | e-ISBN: 9780198606697 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/anb/9780198606697.article.1601806
Wright, Richard

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Wright, Richard (04 September 1908–28 November 1960), author, was born Richard Nathaniel Wright on Rucker’s Plantation, between Roxie and Natchez, Mississippi, the son of Nathaniel Wright, an illiterate sharecropper, and Ella Wilson, a schoolteacher. When Wright was five, his father left the family and his mother was forced to take domestic jobs away from the house. Wright and his brother spent a period at an orphanage. Around 1920 Ella Wright became a paralytic, and the family moved from Natchez to Jackson, then to Elaine, Arkansas, and back to Jackson to live with Wright’s maternal grandparents, who were restrictive Seventh-day Adventists. Wright moved from school to school, graduating from the ninth grade at the Smith Robertson Junior High School in Jackson as the class valedictorian in June 1925. Wright had published his first short story, “The Voodoo of Hell’s Half-Acre,” in three parts in the ...

Reference Entry.  3300 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Literary Studies (Fiction, Novelists, and Prose Writers) ; Biographical Studies

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