RICHARD WRIGHT (1908 - 1960) is one of the great American storytellers of our time. He was born in Mississippi, where his father was a mill and farm worker. When the father left his family and the mother fell ill, the boy was sent to live with relatives. He went to school in Jackson, where his aunt taught. After he left school he worked at several jobs and moved northward to Chicago, where he became a clerk in a post office. He started writing early in his life and traveled widely in Mexico, the Gold Coast (later Ghana), and Europe, where he spent his last years in Paris. From 1932 to 1944 he was a member of the Communist Party. When he left the party, he wrote of his disillusionment, together with five other writers, in "The God that Failed". "Black Boy" was first published in 1945.