1. From his earliest memories on a Mississippi plantation, Richard Wright's formative years were characterized by poverty and instability after the desertion of his father and his mother's severe illnesses.
2. Highlighted by the murder of his Uncle Hoskins by white men jealous of his modest business success, Richard's life was irrevocably influenced by the oppressive racial climate of the early 1900's.
3. As soon as he was old enough, Richard escaped the deep South, moved to Memphis, and worked a variety of jobs. In each of these he experienced the degradation of being a black man in a white man's world.
4. In spite of his struggles, Richard discovered he had a gift for writing and a hunger for books which he sought to satisfy by borrowing a library card from a white man, since black men were at the time denied this priviledge.
5. Richard finally escaped the South altogether by moving to Chicago, where he found racial barriers less rigid, but still experienced a vast 'psychological distance" between the races.