"HOW IT FEELS TO BE COLORED ME"
In the early 1900's, seeing a car was a special event, and Hurston's entire town would take note when one passed through. The town and tourists nurtured a symbiotic relationship as Hurston would go out into the street to sing, dance, and otherwise entertain. Her family would stop by these displays when they saw them because it made a scene and embarrassed them. Also, they may have seen her as demeaning herself by her antics. She enjoyed doing this so much that she was often paid to do so. This she did not understand, as she would have joyfully done it for free; she would rather be paid to stop than be paid to perform.
The black people did not give Zora money, but they tried to stop her. When she left her native Orange County to go into an area where white people lived, she was no longer Zora, but "a little colored girl." She was just one of a class of people.
Zora was happy to be who she was. She sees nothing wrong with being a "little colored girl." Zora does not see herself as the ancestor of slaves, which was sixty years in the past. The slaves were put "on the marks." Reconstruction was the time to "get set." Now was the time for her to "go." Zora is in a race. If you look behind you do not win. She strives to look forward.
Zora talks about
white vs. black and the advantages of being black. She terms it in listening
to music such as jazz. Zora listens to jazz with a white person who, though
he tries, does not appreciate it as she does. The music moves her to a
"jungle beyond," while he calmly smokes a cigarette only listening to it.
In order to be universal you must be yourself. Zora is herself, colored
and universal. Even though she is different, Zora is no worse than anyone
else in America.