Reflection - Black Boy by Richard Wright

Categories: Black Boy
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Most African American families in the South were lower class and committed dangerous acts to survive, “Richard suffered poverty and hunger experiences that later became themes of his work”. He would have to wait a long period of time before food was available for him, “You’ll have to wait till I get a job to buy food”. The lower class did desperate things to get money “Richard sneak into saloons and begs for pennies and drinks”.

Many African Americans suffered horribly from poverty, “My mothers’ suffering grew into a symbol, gathering to itself all the poverty, the ignorance, the helplessness, the pain, hunger ridden days and hours”.

The Jim Crow South brought many adversities for Blacks and poverty was a major part of that. Poverty not only took away the physical things in their lives, but also it took away from their internal selves as human beings.

The things they had in their lives that they were deprived of, did not mean as much to them as losing who they are as a person, “I would send other words to tell, to march, to fight, to create a sense of the hunger of life that gnaws in us all, to keep alive in our hearts a sense of the inexpressibly human”.

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Racism in the Jim Crow South was brutal, unnecessary, and in some cases fatal. Racism in the United States South was a major theme, and impacted the life of Richard both in a positive and negative way.

The only positive aspect of it was that he and many other African Americans overcame it and helped them become better people.

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In most cases racism affected lives in a negative way. Most African Americans were both physically and mentally pushed to their limit and caused permanent scars in their lives, “Having been thrust out of the world because of my race, I had accepted my destiny by not being curious about what shaped it”, The quote by Richard shows the racism was present and unfair, you can still move on and not let it be damaging to your daily lives and emotions.

Richard experienced many abusive events resulting from racism, “He experienced some of the most severe abuses of racial oppression in Mississippi”. African Americans have the theory that White people are dangerous and not to be trusted, “the Jim Crow South was a system of racial segregation practiced in some states of the US, and it gave whites a reason to treat Blacks as second class citizens”. Richard falls into a category of Black youth who fears the White community and has a hard time interacting with them, “Richard feels psychological tension around Whites”.

The major reason why Richard is a part of the Great Migration and fled North is because of racism. The segregation Blacks had to deal with also took away many educational opportunities, “No education could alter what the meaning of living, came only when one was struggling”. Racism took away many privileges and rights away from Blacks. Many African Americans in the South moved north for better opportunities, and this vast moment was known as the Great Migration.

It was hard for many African Americans to leave the South because that was the only life they knew, “Nine out of ten African Americans lived in the American South in 1900, by 1930, 3 in 10 lived outside the house”. Richard Wrights’ Black Boy shows how racism destroyed the lives of many African Americans, but for some it did just the opposite, as for Richard it drove him to be the successful writer he is today. Violence affected African American youth in a negative way, and it varied how they let it affect the rest of their lives.

Poverty took a major toll on the lives of African Americans during the Jim Crow South system, and affected the majority in an unconstructive way. Racism made a huge impact on the lives of the Blacks because it affected their emotions, physicality, home life, and way of being. For some, racism lead to death or completely ruined their lives, but others took the hardship of racism and went with it in the opposite direction. Richard Wright, once a trouble African American boy, now a flourishing writer.

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Reflection - Black Boy by Richard Wright. (2021, Nov 23). Retrieved from

Reflection - Black Boy by Richard Wright
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