How It Feels To Be Colored Me

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Corbis Images #IH023962 MAY ONLY BE USED IN CONNECTION WITH "American Masters: Zora Neale Hurston". All other uses are prohibited. ca. 1950s, Florida, USA [?] --- Zora Neale Hurston (1903-1960) studied anthropology under scholar Franz Boas. She wrote several novels, drawing heavily on her knowledge of human development and the African American experience in America. She is best known for --- Image by © CORBIS

The day I was passed “How It Feels to Be Colored Me” by Zora Neale Hurston I didn’t know what to expect. Was this about to be a monologue about being Black in America? Because if so I didn’t need to read about that again.

I was uninterested, so I came to class the next day, half way prepared for a discussion that I’d feel so familiar with having.

My class started to talk about Hurston’s experience in her small Black Florida neighborhood. So when Ms. Siegel asked me about how I thought she felt in her neighborhood, I knew the answer without having to think about Zora. The same thing happened when I was asked about how she felt when she danced in front of a white male friend. I knew what it felt like for rhythm to take over my body as I watched my white friends stand stale, admiring my abilities.

“How It Feels To Be Colored Me” is for any young minority, coming into a world much different from home. A world where it’s not as easy to find somebody like yourself. Zora Neale Hurston spoke for those little girls. She spoke for me. And for that, I will forever think of her in honor.

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