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September 04

Richard Wright was born in 1908.

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Richard Wright was born in 1908.

Grades 7 – 12
Calendar Activity Type Author & Text

 

EVENT DESCRIPTION

 

 

Author Richard Wright was born into poverty on Rucker's Plantation, just east of Natchez, Mississippi, in 1908. Wright was a novelist, short-story author, and poet as well as an author of protest literature. His best-known works, Native Son and Black Boy, established him as an important spokesperson for the conditions of African Americans, and through his writings, Wright challenged readers to question and change the treatment of African Americans in the United States.

CLASSROOM ACTIVITY

 

 

Wright's Black Boy is an autobiography filled with incidents that are harrowing, funny, tender, and true-to-life. Have students read an excerpt from the novel that you think is appropriate for their grade level. One that might work best for grades 8-12 is available at the publisher's site.

After reading that excerpt, which recounts an incident when four-year-old Richard gets mad and does something for which he gets into trouble, ask students to:

  • describe how they feel about Richard's actions
  • identify words and phrases that are particularly descriptive
  • write a similar narrative about a time when they got mad and/or got in trouble for something they had done wrong.

Alternately, ask students to write found poems after reading the passage, using the lesson plan below.

WEBSITES

 

 
  • Richard Wright (1908-1960)

    Contributing Editor John M. Reilly provides useful classroom strategies as well as background information on Wright's "The Man Who Was Almost a Man" in this companion to the Heath Anthology of American Literature.

  • Richard Wright (1908-1960)

    This collection of resources from the Modern American Poetry website includes biographical information, photos, background information, and samples of Wright's writing.

  • Richard Wright

    The Mississippi Writers Page includes biographical information, a bibliography, and links to additional resources.

  • Richard Wright's Love Letter to Paris

    A part of WNYC’s work on the NEH Annotation Project, this page includes an audio recording of Richard Wright describing his arrival in France and his reflections on Paris as well as biographical information that contextualizes the recording.

RELATED RESOURCES

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Grades   6 – 8  |  Lesson Plan  |  Recurring Lesson

Using QARs to Develop Comprehension and Reflective Reading Habits

Students are introduced to question-answer relationships (QARs). Using the QAR strategy, students identify different types of questions and learn how to determine the appropriate response for each question type.

 

Grades   6 – 8  |  Lesson Plan  |  Standard Lesson

Found Poems/Parallel Poems

Students compose found and parallel poems based on a descriptive passage they have chosen from a piece of literature they are reading.

 

Grades   11 – 12  |  Lesson Plan  |  Standard Lesson

Examining the Legacy of the American Civil Rights Era

As part of their study of Richard Wright’s Black Boy, students research and reflect on the current black-white racial divide in America. By examining the work of literature in the context of contemporary events, students will deepen their understanding of the work and of what it means to be an American today.

 

Grades   9 – 12  |  Lesson Plan  |  Standard Lesson

Demonstrating Understanding of Richard Wright's Rite of Passage

Students use the elements of persuasion for a specific audience to demonstrate their understanding of Richard Wright’s accessible and engaging coming-of-age novel, Rite of Passage.