Street Lit, 1930s Chicago-Style

Native Son book coverBigger Thomas is a chauffeur for the Daltons, a rich, white family.  Late one night, Bigger carries the Dalton’s daughter, Mary, to her room because she is too inebriated to walk. Mary’s blind mother walks into the room as Bigger puts Mary on her bed. Bigger is terrified. He, a black man, has a young, intoxicated, white woman in his arms…men had been lynched for less. In a panic, Bigger quiets Mary’s drunken muttering by putting a pillow over her head until her mother leaves the room. Only when Bigger takes the pillow away, Mary is dead. Thus starts Bigger Thomas’ downward spiral into crime and punishment in Richard Wright’s classic Harlem Renaissance novel about racial inequality, Native Son.