12 Million Black Voices

Richard Wright, Author, Edwin Rosskam, Photographer, David Bradley, Foreword by Thunder's Mouth Press $15.95 (160p) ISBN 978-0-938410-44-7
This 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 - 166 pages - 978-1-56025-446-1
Paperback - 160 pages - 978-1-56025-247-4
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