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A Person of His Type
Theodore G. Bilbo on Richard Wright's “Black Boy”

Theodore G. Bilbo

Remarks delivered by U.S. Sen. Theodore G. Bilbo in the Senate, June 27, 1945.

There is another book which should be taken off the book racks of the nation; it should be removed from the bookstores; its sale should be stopped. It is the recent book of the month, which has had such a great sale. Senators can understand why it has had such a great sale if they will read it. It is entitled “Black Boy,” by Richard Wright. Richard Wright is a Mississippean. He was born and reared near Natchez, Miss. He went from Natchez to Jackson, from Jackson to Memphis, from Memphis to Chicago, and from Chicago to Brooklyn, N.Y., where he is married to a white woman and is living happily, he says. He wrote the book Black Boy ostensibly as the story of his life. Actually it is a damnable lie from beginning to end. It is practically all fiction. There is just enough truth to it to enable him to build his fabulous lies about his experiences in the South and his description of the people of the South and the culture, education, and life of Southern people. The purpose of the book is to plant the seeds of hate in every Negro in America against the white men of the South or against the white race anywhere, for that matter. That is the purpose. Its purpose is to plant the seeds of devilment and troublebreeding in the days to come in the mind and heart of every American Negro. Read the book if you do not believe what I am telling you. It is the dirtiest, filthiest, lousiest, most obscene piece of writing that I have ever seen in print. I would hate to have a son or daughter of mine permitted to read it; it is so filthy and so dirty. But it comes from a Negro, and you cannot expect any better from a person of his type.

[from the Congressional Record, 79th Congress, 1st Session, 128 ( June 27, 1945): 91.]

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