(1908 - 1960)
Richard Wright worked as a dishwasher and delivery boy in Memphis and a post-office employee and insurance agent in Chicago before he moved to New York City and published Native Son in 1940. It became the first bestselling novel by an African American, and he soon worked to adapt it for the stage. A Broadway production went up in 1941 that was produced by John Houseman and staged by Orson Welles. Wright published his autobiography Black Boy in 1945 and left the U.S. permanently in 1947. He died at the age of fifty-two in 1960 in France.