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This Child's Gonna Live
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Novelist, poet, essayist and social activist, SARAH E. WRIGHT was born in the Village of Wetipquin, on the Eastern Shore of Jim Crow Maryland. She helped organize the First and the Second National Conference of Black Writers and the Congress of American Writers. She was president of Pen & Brush, Inc., the oldest professional organization of women in the United States.

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This Child's Gonna Live

A Novel
Sarah E. Wright

Foreword by Thulani Davis. Afterword by Jennifer Campbell. Other Contributors John Oliver Killens.

Originally published in 1969 to broad critical acclaim, This Child's Gonna Live is an unsurpassed testament to human endurance in the face of poverty, racism, and despair. Set in a fishing village on Maryland's Eastern Shore in the 1930s, this story has as its main character the unforgettable Mariah Upshur, a hard-working, sensual, resilient woman, full of hope, and determination despite living in a society that conspires to keep her down. In her mind, she carries on a conversation with Jesus, who, like Mariah herself, is passionate and compassionate, at times funny and resolutely resilient to fatalism. Often compared to Zora Neale Hurston for her lyrical and sure-handed use of local dialect, Wright, like Hurston, powerfully depicts the predicament of poor African American women, who confront the multiple oppressions of class, race, and gender.

"This novel changed forever the way I saw the world in which I had grown up. In that sense it changed the way I thought and the way I wrote."

—Adrienne Rich

"In every respect, an impressive achievement. The canon of American folk-epic is enriched by this small masterpiece."

The New York Times Book Review

"Saturated in harsh beauty, this book has been and still is for me one of the most important and indispensable books published in my lifetime. We have nothing else quite like it. . . . This is a touchstone book against which to test the lives of those who cannot speak for themselves."

—Tillie Olsen

"Sarah Wright's searing yet lyrical rendition of a Southern black woman's life . . . is as compelling as her protagonist's insistence that This Child's Gonna Live. Wright's language is so true to the spoken word, her rhythms so authentic, readers may feel they are hearing her characters rather than meeting them on the printed page."

—Barbara Christian, professor, Afro-American studies, University of California, Berkeley

"It has always been my contention that the Black woman in America will write the greatest of the American novels. For it is the Black woman, forced to survive at the bottom rung of American society,...who is compelled to survey, by the very extremity of her existence, the depths of the American soul. In reading Sarah Wright's searing novel, I am convinced that my assessment was correct."

—Rosa Guy

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