The introduction outlines major periods in Richard Wright’s intellectual life, emphasizing the similarities between the historical moment in which he wrote and the post-Obama period in which this text is being published. It also explains the thematic organization of the text into five sections focused, respectively, on radical politics, sexuality and gender, black internationalism, the range of genres in which Wright wrote, and on using Wright’s ideas to address contemporary black political struggles. Running through the text is an exploration of how Wright thought one could build more inclusive forms of solidarity across gender and national lines through careful attention to the distinct but related expressions of capitalist and imperialist exploitation. For Wright, the starting point was always the life worlds of the black masses whose liberation it was the task of the black writer to advance.
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