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TKO: Richard Wright And 'The Voodoo Of Hell's Half-Acre'

Richard Wright in 1943.
Gordon Parks
Library of Congress
Richard Wright in 1943.

Richard Wright grew up black in the segregated South, excelling in school despite frequent interruptions. It's said that Wright borrowed books from a white library in Memphis by claiming to be assisting a white man.

His first published story came in his teen years, "The Voodoo of Hell's Half-Acre." The story itself is lost to history, but the title is now being used for a multimedia theatrical presentation, a "blues poetry opera" based upon Wright's work.

It is the focus of this month's edition of The Keenest Observers, hosted by Robert Goodwin. Rob's guest is Lasana Kazembe, who created the piece and performs in it. We get a sense of the range of materials that come together to tell a story of Black experience.

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The Jefferson Exchange is Jefferson Public Radio's daily talk show focused on news and interests across our region of Southern Oregon and Northern California. Angela Decker is the senior producer, Charlie Zimmermann is the assistant producer, and Geoffrey Riley hosts the show.