Long Black Song, Richard Wright: The Riverside Anthology of African American Literature (notes from text)

“Without a doubt, Richard Wright helped set the tone for African American aesthetics in the twentieth century.”

“Go t sleep, baby Papas gone t town Go t sleep, baby The suns going down Go t sleep, baby Yo candy in the sack Go t sleep, baby Papas comin’ back…” 

“Whuts the mattah, chile? Yun wan some watch?”


“She felt that merely to go so far away from home seas a kind of death in itself. Just to go that far away was to be killed.”

Dreamily blank


“Sky sang a red song. Fields whispered a green prayer. And song and prayer were dying in silence and shadow.”


“His leaving had left an empty black hole in her heart, a black hole that Silas had come in and filled. But not quite. Silas had not quite filled that hole. No;  days and nights were not as they were before.”

Wet Stars

White Man

“I’ve got something to show you. Can I sit here, on your porch? Ah reckon so. But, Mistah, Ah ain got no money. Haven’t you sold your cotton yet? Silas gone t town aid it now.”

Silas-sold his cotton


“But how do you keep time? We git erlong widout time. …. But how do you know what time is when you get up? We git up wid the sun. And at night, how do you tell when its night? It hits dark when the sun goes down.” …..”Well this beats everything! I don’t see how in the world anybody can live without time.” We just don need no time, Mistah.”

White man-selling-clocks-graphopones-his auburn hair

Gilt-on the corners-sparkled-beveled edge

“There was a sharp, scratching noise; then she moved nervously, her body caugh in the ringing coils of music.”

“Her blood surged like the long gladness of summer.”

“Her blood ebbed like the deep dream of sleep in winter.”

“Crickets called. The dark sky had swallowed up the earth and more star were hanging, clustered, burning.”

“Whut yuh goin to school fer?” “I’m studying science.” “Whuts tha?”

“She heard him drink; it was the faint, soft music of water going down a dry throat, the music of water in a silent night.”

“Naw, naw….Mistah, Ah can’t do that!” She jerked away. He caught her hand. “Please…” “Lemme go!”

“Her eyes were full of the wet stars and they blurred silver and blue.”

mountain tide of blood beating against her throat and temples.

“A liquid metal covered her and she rode on the curve of white bright days and dark black nights and the surge of the long gladness of summer and the ebb of the deep dream of sleep in winter till a high red wave of hotness drowned her in a deluge of silver and blue and boiled her blood and blistered her flesh bangbangbang…”

“I’m leaving that clock and graphophone,” he said. …. “You can have it for forty instead of fifty. I’ll be buy early in the morning to see if your husbands in.”

She sat upright, feeling fear.

“Her eyes looked straight up in the darkness and her blood sogged. She had lain a long time, full of a vast peace, when a far away tinkle made her feel the bed again.”


Shucks rustled as he sat on the edge of the bed. “Ah got two hundred n fifty fer may cotton.”

“Naw but I heard Tom was in town.”


“Woman, ain yuh glad Ah bought yuh some shoes n cloth?”

“Who’s hat’s this?” …. “Whut he doin in our room?”

“Ahma break yo Gawdam neck ef yuh don stop lying to me!”

“Who’s that? He asked, picking up a short, yellow pencil from the crumpled quit?”

He was speechless with outrage.

“Then the bed heaved amid a wild shout of shucks and Silas’ feet hit the floor with a loud boom.”

“Ef yuh say one mo word t me Ahma slap yuh inter a black spasm.”

“She looked closer; she saw that the white cloth was a man’s handkerchief. Silas’ fingers loosened; she heard the handkerchief hit the floor softly, damply. The match went out.

She looked up; the stars were paling a little.

“White men killed the black and black men killed the white. White men killed the black men because they could, and the black men killed the white men to keep from being killed.”

“He began to talk to no one in particular; he simply stood over the dead white man and talked out of his life, out of a deep and final sense that now it was all over and nothing could make any difference.”

Blind from tears,

“Yes, killing of white men by black men and killing of black men by white men went on in spite of the hope of white bright days and the desire of dark black nights and the long gladness of green cornfields in summer and the deep dream of sleepy grey skies in winter. And when killing started it went on, like a river flowing.”

old river of blood

Silas killed as many as he could and stayed on to burn, had stayed without a murmur.














Race, superiority, inequality, injustice

Women as objects, as possession

Rape Culture Today?  Girls are think its their fault because they are told, it was your fault.


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