How It Feels to Be Colored Me Questions and Answers
by Zora Neale Hurston

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Name an African American writer who you think Hurston might include in what she calls "the sobbing school Negrohood" (paragraph 6 of "How It Feels to Be Colored Me"). How might the writer answer Hurston's criticism?

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Most of the poets of the Harlem Renaissance could be identified with what Hurston disparagingly calls the "sobbing school of Negrohood," because the black poets and artists of that period (as today) were galvanized to try to communicate the black plight of oppression, fear, and limited opportunity.

One important proponent of that school, which is often called "protest" literature, is Langston Hughes, who, for a time, was a close friend of Hurston's. He is representative because he is not only arguably the most famous of the Harlem Renaissance poets, but also typified a poetry that combined both "sobbing," or protest, with hope and an assertion of black worth. For example, in "I Look at the World," he writes,

And this is what I see:
This fenced-off narrow space
Assigned to me.
But in the same poem, he also states:
And this is what I know:
That all these walls oppression builds
Will have to go!
Similarly, Claude McKay, in the poem "America," writes of oppression but also of love for things of...

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