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The Politics of Richard WrightPerspectives on Resistance$
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Jane Anna Gordon and Cyrus Ernesto Zirakzadeh

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780813175164

Published to Kentucky Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.5810/kentucky/9780813175164.001.0001

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I Have Seen Black Hands

I Have Seen Black Hands

(p.23) 1 I Have Seen Black Hands
The Politics of Richard Wright

Richard Wright

University Press of Kentucky

Richard Wright’s “I Have Seen Black Hands” sets the tone for the first section on radical politics. Describing hands that, like his, are black, Wright recounts their hungry reaching for life. These hands produced riches for others and served the country through military service. When the economic tides turned, however, African Americans were left without paid employment or remuneration for their labor. What is more, they faced unfair punishment or lynching when they sought a share of the profits they had made for others. The poem culminates in a call for their hands to turn into revolting fists, joined by those of working, nonblack others.

Keywords:   Richard Wright, radical politics, labor, unfair punishment, lynching

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