Sarah Elizabeth Wright was born in the town of Wetipquin on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, the birthplace of abolitionists Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglass. The pride and heroics of these cultural icons live on in Wright’s books. In “An Appreciation,” the afterword to the 1986 edition of Wright’s acclaimed novel This Child’s Gonna Live, author John Oliver Killens, who was Wright’s mentor, identifies a similarity of faith and humanistic struggle between Wright’s commitment to encouraging humankind and that of the historical models of African American struggle.
Wright’s father, Willis Charles, was an oysterman, barber, farmer, and musician. Her mother, the former Mary Amelia Moore, was a homemaker, barber, farmworker, and factory worker. Wright married Joseph G. Kaye, a composer, and had two children, Michael and Shelley. She attended Howard University (1945-1949) and the former Cheyney State Teachers College (1950-1952). In addition to being a writer, she worked as a teacher, a bookkeeper, and an office manager.
Wright had a rich history of artistic organization. She was a member of the Authors Guild, the Authors League of America, International PEN, and the International Women’s Writing Guild. She served as vice president of the Harlem Writers Guild and as president of Pen & Brush, Inc. (1992-1993), the oldest professional organization of women in the United States. Wright put these experiences together to...
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