About the Book

12 Million Black Voices

12 Million Black Voices

December 2002
Trade Paperback · 166 Pages
$18.95 U.S. · $24.00 CAN
ISBN 9781560254461
Basic Books


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12 Million Black Voices, first published in 1941, combines Wright's prose with startling photographs selected by Edwin Rosskam from the Security Farm Administration files compiled during the Great Depression. The photographs include works by such giants as Walker Evans, Dorothea Lange, and Arthur Rothstein. From crowded, rundown farm shacks to Harlem storefront churches, the photos depict the lives of black people in 1930s America—their misery and weariness under rural poverty, their spiritual strength, and their lives in northern ghettos. Wright's accompanying text eloquently narrates the story of these 90 pictures and delivers a powerful commentary on the origins and history of black oppression in this country. Also included are new prefaces by Douglas Brinkley, Noel Ignatiev, and Michael Eric Dyson. "Among all the works of Wright, 12 Million Black Voices stands out as a work of poetry, … passion, … and of love."—David Bradley "A more eloquent statement of its kind could hardly have been devised."—The New York Times Book Review

About the Authors

Richard Wright is among this country's most widely recognized and critically acclaimed authors. His books Native Son and Black Boy represent pivotal developments in American literature, politics, and culture.