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Zora Neale Hurston discusses her attitude toward slavery in the essay "How it Feels to Be Colored Me." Rather surprisingly, the essay is humorous in tone and rejects the notion of slavery as an eternal burden weighing down African Americans in perpetuity. Slavery, says Hurston, is sixty years in the...

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Zora Neale Hurston discusses her attitude toward slavery in the essay "How it Feels to Be Colored Me." Rather surprisingly, the essay is humorous in tone and rejects the notion of slavery as an eternal burden weighing down African Americans in perpetuity. Slavery, says Hurston, is sixty years in the past. She refuses to be depressed by it, comparing the emancipation to a successful medical procedure after which the patient is doing fine.

Hurston calls slavery the price she has paid for civilization, worth what it has cost her through her ancestors (whether it was worth it for them is another matter). Her post-slavery position, far from being depressing, is a "bully adventure." She has a tremendous chance for glory, since her acts are twice as consequential as those of people who do not share her background and she concludes optimistically:

It is quite exciting to hold the center of the national stage, with the spectators not knowing whether to laugh or to weep.

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