What is the purpose of Zora Neale Hurston's "How It Feels to Be Colored Me"?

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Hurston's purpose in writing "How it Feels to be Colored like Me" is to assert her pride in being black. She pushes back against the idea, articulated by many of her black friends during the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s, that segregation and racial discrimination harmed the black soul and needed to be addressed. She dismisses race, saying she is just a part of the greater jumble of American diversity.

She doesn't feel alienated or left out of the American experience because of being black, writing:

I am merely a fragment of the Great Soul that surges within the boundaries. My country, right or wrong.

This much anthologized essay celebrates the joys Hurston finds in being a black woman. The sole black student at Barnard College and the women's counterpart to Columbia University, she enjoys being in New York City and states she often feels as fine as any well-dressed white woman walking down the street. She can also slip into her black skin, she says, and enjoy jazz music in a club,...

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