12 Million Black Voices by Richard Wright is a photo and text book which poetically tells the tale of African Americans from the time they were taken from Africa to the time things started to improve for them in a 149 page reflection. Using interchanging series of texts and photographs, Richard Wright encompasses the voices of 12 Million African-Americans, and tells of their sufferings, their fears, the phases through which they have gone and their hopes. In this book, most of the photos used were from the FSA: Farm Security Administration and a few others not from them. They were selected to complement and show the points of the text. The African-Americans in the photos were depicted with dignity. In their eyes, even though clearly victims, exists strengths and hopes for the future. The photos indicated that they could and did create their own culture both in the past and present. From the same photos plus the texts, it could be gathered that they have done things to improve their lives of their own despite the many odds against them. The photographs showed their lives, their suffering, and their journey for better lives, their happy moments, and the places that were of importance to them. Despite the importance of the photographs they were not as effective as the text in showing the African-American lives and how the things happening in them had affected them, more specifically their complex feelings. 12 Million Black Voices by Richard Wright represents the voice of African-Americans from their point of view of their long journey from Africa to America, and from there through their search for equality, the scars and prints of where they come from, their children born during these struggles, their journeys, their loss, and plight…
…ey for African-Americans. 12 Million Black Voices could not have depicted it better. Their unhappiness, shown on their faces in the photo, their weariness, fear, hopes, and highlights talked of in the text worked together to give us a look into the African-American life then. Today, our lives are better. African-Americans’ lives are better. We have more opportunity and more equality. What we do not have, we fight for. Yet we still see the traces of the past sufferings of our people’s lives today. We still see those traces of racism they were subjected to being repeated in our kin’s lives. And so the struggle continues, but with time it gets better. And this is the new hope. That one day racism will not exist and that no other will suffer like they did.
Wright, Richard, and Edwin Rosskam. 12 Million Black Voices. New York: Thunder’s Mouth, 1988. Print.