12 million black voices; a folk history of the Negro in the United States
New York: The Viking Press, 1941. First edition. First edition. Presumed first printing. Hardcover. Good. Rosskam, Edwin (Photo-Direction). 152 p 26 cm. Illustrations. No dust jacket. Cover has some wear and soiling. Farm Security photographers represented include Walker Evans, Dorothea Lange, Russell Lee, Carl Mydans, Ben Shahn, Jack Delano, and Richard Wright. 86 photographs From Wikipedia: "Richard Nathaniel Wright (September 4, 1908 November 28, 1960) was an African-American author of sometimes controversial novels, short stories, poems, and non-fiction. Much of his literature concerns racial themes, especially those involving the plight of African Americans during the late 19th to mid-20th centuries. His work helped change race relations in the United States in the mid-20th century....In 1937, Richard Wright moved to New York, where he forged new ties with Communist Party members. He worked on the WPA Writers' Project guidebook to the city, New York Panorama (1938), and wrote the book's essay on Harlem. Wright became the Harlem editor of the Daily Worker. In the summer and fall he wrote over two hundred articles for the Daily Worker and helped edit a short-lived literary magazine New Challenge. The year was also a landmark for Wright because he met and developed a friendship with Ralph Ellison that would last for years, and he learned that he would receive the Story magazine first prize of five hundred dollars for his short story "Fire and Cloud". After Wright received the Story magazine prize in early 1938, he shelved his manuscript of Lawd Today and dismissed his literary agent, John Troustine. He hired Paul Reynolds, the well-known agent of Paul Laurence Dunbar, to represent him. Meanwhile, the Story Press offered Harper all of Wright's prize-entry stories for a book, and Harper agreed to publish them. Wright gained national attention for the collection of four short stories entitled Uncle Tom's Children (1938). He based some stories on lynching in the Deep South. The publication and favorable reception of Uncle Tom's Children improved Wright's status with the Communist party and enabled him to establish a reasonable degree of financial stability. He was appointed to the editorial board of New Masses, and Granville Hicks, prominent literary critic and Communist sympathizer, introduced him at leftist teas in Boston. By May 6, 1938, excellent sales had provided Wright with enough money to move to Harlem, where he began writing the novel Native Son (1940). The collection also earned him a Guggenheim Fellowship, which allowed him to complete Native Son. It was selected by the Book of the Month Club as its first book by an African-American author. The lead character, Bigger Thomas, represented the limitations that society placed on African Americans as he could only gain his own agency and self-knowledge by committing heinous acts. Wright was criticized for his works' concentration on violence. In the case of Native Son, people complained that he portrayed a black man in ways that seemed to confirm whites' worst fears. The period following publication of Native Son was a busy time for Wright. In July 1940 he went to Chicago to do research for a folk history of blacks to accompany photographs selected by Edwin Rosskam. While in Chicago he visited the American Negro Exhibition with Langston Hughes, Arna Bontemps and Claude McKay. He then went to Chapel Hill, North Carolina, where he and Paul Green collaborated on a dramatic version of Native Son. In January 1941 Wright received the prestigious Spingarn Medal for noteworthy achievement by a black. Native Son opened on Broadway, with Orson Welles as director, to generally favorable reviews in March 1941. A volume of photographs almost completely drawn from the files of the Farm Security Administration, with text by Wright, Twelve Million Black Voices: A Folk History of the Negro in the United States, was published in October 1941 to wide critical acclaim." Also from Wikipedia: "Louise Rosskam (born Louise Rosenbaum) (March 27, 1910-April 1, 2003) was a photographer for the Farm Security Administration (FSA) and the Standard Oil Company during the mid-20th century. Together with her.
- Seller: Ground Zero Books, Ltd.
- Published: 1941
- Condition: Good
- Edition: First edition. First edition. Presumed first printing
12 Million Black Voices
Richard Wright, Author, Edwin Rosskam, Photographer, David Bradley, Foreword by Thunder's Mouth Press $15.95 (160p) ISBN 978-0-938410-44-7This long-out-of-print photographic documentary was first published in 1941. The excellent black-and-white picturesby such renowned photographers as Dorothea Lange, Walker Evans, Ben Shahn et al. and culled from the Farm Security Administration files compiled during the Depressioncapture the wretchedness of Southern rural shantytown and urban ghetto, but also reveal a people's unstinting, stately determination to survive with mind, body and dignity intact. Wright's (Native Son) text is a denunciation of American bigotry directed at the national conscience. He discusses each phase of black American social evolution: the horrors of the slave trade; the degradation of plantation life; the lynchings and violence after Reconstruction; and the great migration of blacks to Northern cities following World War I. Wright anchors his economic analyses to profiles of individual lives, providing a sense of the obstacles black families faced simply to stay together. (June)
Reviewed on: 03/01/1988
Release date: 03/01/1988
Paperback - 160 pages - 978-1-56025-247-4
Paperback - 166 pages - 978-1-56025-446-1
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