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The Flood Year 1927A Cultural History$
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Susan Scott Parrish

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780691168838

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691168838.001.0001

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Richard Wright: Environment, Media, and Race

Richard Wright: Environment, Media, and Race

(p.243) Seven Richard Wright: Environment, Media, and Race
The Flood Year 1927

Susan Scott Parrish

Princeton University Press

This chapter considers the extent and nature of the flood's influence on Richard Wright, and on his development as a thinker and writer. Wright saw the social and physical environments as not only shaping but also being politically—that is, humanly—shaped. This insight—which he drew from the protest literature surrounding the flood—allowed him to anticipate much work that has come out of the Environmental Justice Movement in recent years. Moreover, the canonical status of Native Son led to an association between Wright and the northern urban “street.” Once we better appreciate that Wright's critical edge came not only from the city street but also from the South's “second nature,” we see that for an author to place black characters in the southern countryside in this period is not necessarily a nostalgic gesture.

Keywords:   Richard Wright, environmental justice, Great Mississippi Flood, river flood, blacks

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