Richard Wright’s memoir is about navigating America in the Jim Crow Era. It’s so good, wish I read it earlier. It’s been on my shelf for mad long. The way he writes and the stuff that’s happening–he finds ways for himself in a wildly violent world.
He was so hungry as a kid that he’d drink water just to fill his stomach, even though it hurt. He’d close his window so he couldn’t smell his neighbors cooking. He’d lose consciousness trying to pretend not to be hungry at school all day. Wright started working as soon as he could just to eat and help feed the other people in his house.
And that’s how his whole journey goes. He makes solo moves in order to pull his family up with him. Wright was born on a plantation in Mississippi, worked in dangerous social conditions for a lil bit of money, and moved himself to Tennessee. He settled in and then brought his mother brother and aunt with him. Then him and his aunt went to Chicago, then his mother and brother followed. He spearheaded their entire migration.
Best line is, “things could happen to one when one was not at home.”
Wright had just moved to Tennessee alone at 17, and the family who he rents from is begging to be taken advantage of. Like offering up the daughter and house to him and stuff. He’s uncomfortable there and steps outside one night only to get scammed himself. Him and another teenager find and sell a big bottle of liquor to a white guy in a car for $5. The guy says he’s going to get change and never comes back.