Richard Wright's devastating autobiography of his childhood and youth in the Jim Crow South
His training by his elders was strict and harsh to prepare him for the "white world" which would be cruel. Their resentment of those trying to escape the common misery made his future seem hopeless. It was necessary to grow up restrained and submissive in southern white society and to endure torment and abuse.
Wright tells of his mental and emotional struggle to educate himself, which gave him a glimpse of life's possibilities and which led him to his triumphant decision to leave the South behind while still a teenager to live in Chicago and fulfill himself by becoming a writer.