Julia Browne, founder of Walking the Spirit Tours, is creating an honorary collage to deposit at the gravesite and has devised several ways people can contribute. “Wright’s work is studied, taught and admired around the world,” says Browne. “I would like to encourage those touched by his work to mark the occasion in a personal and spirited way.”
Anyone in Paris until the end of November is invited to pay tribute at their convenience at the Columbarium of the Père Lachaise cemetery where Wright was cremated. Visitors are asked to leave something at marker #848, take a photograph of their contribution and/or themselves and submit it.
An alternative to the gravesite visit is for Wright admirers to do the same in front of his family’s former home at 14 rue Monsieur le Prince, in Paris’ 6th district. A wall plaque marks Wright’s residence in this Latin Quarter neighborhood from 1948-1959. People can also stop for coffee or a meal at Wright’s most frequented café, Le Café Tournon, on Rue Tournon, near the Luxembourg Gardens.
Wright fans far from Paris are encouraged to contribute words, drawings or photographs that they dedicate to the groundbreaking expatriate writer.
All contributed pieces should be sent by email to walkthespirit@
Richard Wright was born near Natchez Mississippi in 1908. An avid reader, his early reading of M.L. Mencken lit in him the notion of people unafraid to write things that might offend. In Chicago, he joined the Communist Party, and progressed from postal worker to supervisor of the government funded Federal Writers Project. Winning a Guggenheim fellowship in New York allowed him to write full-time. His 1940 breakthrough novel 'Native Son' catapulted him to world fame and his was the first African-American Book-of-the-
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Walking The Spirit Tours is the longest running Black heritage tour company in Paris. In 1994 they began offering in-depth walking tours focusing on the little-known history of African-American writers, artists, intellectuals and entertainers in Paris. They have since expanded into comprehensive bus tours and personalized itinerary planning that offer an exciting blend of Black history and contemporary Paris. Browne is also an award-winning writer who worked on the Mississippi Television production of 'Black Boy' under producer Madison Lacy.