AccessMyLibrary provides FREE access to millions of articles from top publications available through your library.
Byline: CURT SCHLEIER
It was all in the words for Richard Wright. And the words, he believed, would set him free.
An African-American, Wright (1908-1960) grew up in the South in the early 20th century, a time when being born black was virtually a guarantee of a hard life.
His family was so poor that his mother had to place him in an orphanage temporarily.
But books and magazines offered a glimpse of another world -- and refuge could be found there.
He tore through every book he could at school. But his time there soon ended; he needed to help his family survive. So Wright took his first regular job as a janitor in his early teens, earning just $10 a week.
One day, on the way home from work, Wright came upon a secondhand bookstore. As Hazel Rowley wrote in the biography "Richard Wright: The Life and Times," "He would buy magazines -- Harper's, the Atlantic Monthly and the American Mercury -- take them home, read …