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Red Scare Racism and Cold War Black Radicalism$
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James Zeigler

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9781496802385

Published to University Press of Mississippi: January 2017

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781496802385.001.0001

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Essaying to Be an Exile: Richard Wright Following The God That Failed

Essaying to Be an Exile: Richard Wright Following The God That Failed

(p.58) Chapter Two Essaying to Be an Exile: Richard Wright Following The God That Failed
Red Scare Racism and Cold War Black Radicalism

James Zeigler

University Press of Mississippi

This chapter describes how an anthology of essays by ex-Communists, The God That Failed, presented international audiences with the anticommunist discourse that flourished in the United States. As the only African American contributor, Richard Wright was essential. His literary achievements and his criticism of Communists were cited to discredit the Soviet Union’s propaganda about American racism. Addressing how Wright could be affiliated with the CIA-sponsored Congress for Cultural Freedom’s disavowal of U.S. responsibility for the damaging Cold War world order, the chapter explains that his essay “I Tried to Be a Communist” and the related volume Black Boy could only be presented in concert with The God That Failed after others’ involvement in editing Wright’s work. An extended treatment of the unpublished “I Choose Exile” shows that Ebony magazine’s rejection and then suppression of the piece further denied American public culture Wright’s prescient insight into Red Scare racism.

Keywords:   Richard Wright, The God That Failed, Black Boy, Congress for Cultural Freedom, “I Choose Exile”

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