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Colorism In Jonah's Gourd Vine, By Zora Neale Hurston

Good Essays
The Reconstruction Era was a period of ‘repair’ and progression of African-Americans, throughout the North and South. African American figureheads of the Reconstruction Era racial uplifts focused heavily on education and practical knowledge, while Hurston offered a different perspective. Although Zora Neale Hurston is now a ‘literary genius,’ her contemporaries criticized her, saying she was hindering the advancement of Blacks. Her literature described by Richard Wright had “no theme, no message, no thought.”(PBS 1). In her novel ‘Jonah’s Gourd Vine,’ Hurston leads us through the life of John Pearson, a mulatto man that went from living abusive stepfather to becoming a well respected preacher. Throughout his life he marries three times, but could not remain faithful to any of his wives. Eventually, he loses his good fortune after he fails to live a clean, holy life. Resulting in his untimely death. Through this story Hurston reveals to her audience the controversy of mulattoes and colorism, and the hushed realities of the Black community.…show more content…
The “White Blacks” or mulattoes were symbols of illegal miscegenation, fornification and rape, which often lead to rejection. They also reminded some of the “pure Blacks” of slavery, and how Whites favored them, which lead them to being shunned by both communities (The Tragic Mulatto 6). Many important African-Americans relationships has been impaired by colorism, such as Du Bois and Garvey. Garvey, once described Du Bois as "a little Dutch, a little French, a little Negro...a mulatto...a monstrosity.". Where as Du Bois characterized Garvey as, "a little, fat black man; ugly, but with intelligent eyes and a big head." (Bates 2). Colorism not only tainted friendships, but relationships within Black families as
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