Dr. Tara T. Green
Professor and Director, African American Studies
by Richard Wright
The summer before I entered college, I read Richard Wright's "Native Son" (1940); I knew that I would major in English when I entered Dillard University that fall. Wright's novel is an American classic that addresses matters related to racism and poverty as experienced by a Southern family relocated to Chicago's south side. Over fifty years after its publication, the novel still provokes readers--especially undergraduate and graduate students--to consider how racial oppression, class exploitation, gender stereotypes, among other issues, can impact the decisions of an individual and the collective experiences of an entire community. My career as a literary scholar of race and gender began the first time I read "Native Son."