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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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Psychology and Black Liberation in Richard Wright’s Black Power (1954)

Psychology and Black Liberation in Richard Wright’s Black Power (1954)

(p.198) 12 Psychology and Black Liberation in Richard Wright’s Black Power (1954)
The Politics of Richard Wright

Dorothy Stringer

University Press of Kentucky

In his travel writings on the Gold Coast/Ghana, Richard Wright drew on two psychological theories—Freudian psychoanalysis and the implicit psychology of African American literary tradition—to describe the relationships among colonialism, state power, racial identity and psychic life. Dorothy Stringer’s essay notes that while Wright’s rationalism and belief in modern progress often prompted him to question, and even condemn, the local cultures and political systems he encountered, his emphasis on actual and historical trauma (above all the traumas of the slave trade) also allowed him to understand daily life, quotidian relationships and minor economic transactions as political in nature, as continuous with a broad history of black resistance, and as tools for projecting a different future for black people.

Keywords:   colonialism, Ghana, African American, psychology, psychoanalysis, African American literature, resistance, racial identity, trauma, slavery

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