Wright was part of a devout Christian family who held anti-slavery beliefs and instilled in him a strict moral character. In 1826, Wright graduated from Yale and began to teach, first in Groton, Massachusetts, then at Hudson, Ohio as a mathematics and philosophy professor at Western Reserve College. It was during this time that Wright first encountered the writings of William Lloyd Garrison. Garrison's pamphlet, "Thoughts on African Colonization," persuaded Wright to believe that slavery should immediately be abolished, and that the plan for deportation of blacks to an African colony would be immoral and ineffective. Wright became involved with the newly created Liberty Party and began to separate from the evangelists and the religious anti-slavery movements, believing that government intervention was the way to abolition.