American Century revives Native Son, the Mercury Theater Company's
famed 1941 adaptation of Richard Wright's controversial novel.
The saga of a young American black man who becomes an unrepentant killer, Wright'sbook was hailed as an uncompromising indictment of the nation's racial divisions and social
injustice, and condemned as feeding white bigotry while excusing crime. Naturally, Orson Welles,
then the most dynamic force in American theater, thought it was just the kind of story his Mercury
Theater needed to tackle. He commissioned Wright to do a stage adaptation in collaboration with
playwright Paul Green, and the production proved as controversial as the novel.