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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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PRINTED FROM KENTUCKY SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.kentucky.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright The University Press of Kentucky, 2019. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in KSO for personal use.date: 21 August 2019

Joe Louis Uncovers Dynamite

Joe Louis Uncovers Dynamite

Chapter:
(p.289) 17 Joe Louis Uncovers Dynamite
Source:
The Politics of Richard Wright
Author(s):

Richard Wright

Publisher:
University Press of Kentucky
DOI:10.5810/kentucky/9780813175164.003.0018

Originally published in October 1935, Richard Wright describes the immediate aftermath of black boxer Joe Louis’s victory over then white champion Max Baer. On the South Side of Chicago, thousands of black people flooded into public spaces in celebration of a moment’s racial victory, an exceptional instance of black triumph over white. Taking strength from Louis’s strength, spontaneously assembled masses of black people felt temporarily and collectively free and invincible. They shook the hands of strangers in unleashed joy and stopped streetcars. Wright thought this cyclone of celebration exhibited a pent-up black folk consciousness that was hungry for freedom, an emboldened energy that could be harnessed and channeled politically. Although soon subsiding, these desires that had long been suppressed had been uncovered in Joe Louis’s victory.

Keywords:   Richard Wright, Joe Louis’s victory, Max Baer, black racial victory, black folk consciousness

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