US Stamps

Born Sept. 4: Richard Wright

May 3, 2021, 12 AM
Author Richard Wright is honored on this 61¢ Literary Arts stamp issued in 2009.

By Michael Baadke

In its Stamp Announcement 09-13, the United States Postal Service described the 61¢ stamp honoring American author Richard Wright, who was born Sept. 4, 1908.

“With this 25th stamp in the Literary Arts series, the U.S. Postal Service honors author Richard Wright (1909-1960). Best remembered for his controversial 1940 novel, Native Son, and 1945 autobiography, Black Boy, Wright drew on a wide range of literary traditions, including protest writing and detective fiction, to craft unflinching portrayals of racism in American society.”

The stamp (Scott 4386) was issued April 9, 2009, in Chicago, Ill. Wright was born in Roxie, Miss., near Natchez. He moved to Memphis, Tenn., in 1925, and later lived in Chicago (where he worked for a while as a postal clerk), New York City, Canada, and France. He died in Paris in 1960.

The stamp honoring Wright, illustrated by Kadir Nelson, “features a portrait of Richard Wright in front of snow-swept tenements on the South Side of Chicago, a scene that recalls the setting of Native Son,” according to the Postal Service.

The portrait is based on a photograph from the mid-1940s.