1942 December 7

“Native Son” Play Reopens in NYC


The play Native Son, based on African-American writer Richard Wright’s novel of the same name, had been closed due to pressure from the Catholic Theater League, which claimed that the play was “obscene.” The closing was protested by the NAACP, the ACLU, and other groups, and it reopened on this day.

According to Banned Books (Robert P. Doyle, ed.), Wright’s novel Native Son was banned or challenged by schools or libraries eight times between 1978 and 1998 alone. Wright’s memoir, Black Boy, was banned or challenged nine times between 1972 and 2007;

Read the novel: Richard Wright, Native Son (1940)

Watch a documentary about Richard Wright: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aAdM-fueKkY

Read: John H. Houchin, Censorship of the American Theater in the Twentieth Century (2003)

Learn more about African American history: Henry Louis Gates, Life Upon These Shores: Looking at African American History, 1513-2008 (2011)

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