Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man sample

Profile photo for Capers Simmons
Not Yet Rated


Characters I portray: adult narrator; the narrator as a child; two of his friends; classmates; Vermont schoolmarm; narrator's mother. Narrator reminisces about how he abruptly and unpleasantly came to learn his racial origin social status. Emotionally weighty, but intimate and not overwrought.

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Vocal Characteristics



Voice Age

Young Adult (18-35)


North American (General) North American (US General American - GenAM) US African American


Note: Transcripts are generated using speech recognition software and may contain errors.
one day near the end of my second term at the school, the principal came into our room and, after talking to the teacher for some reason, said, I wish all of the white scholars to stand for a moment. I rose with the others. The teacher looked at me and calling my name said, You sit down for the present and rise with the others. I did not quite understand her. And question ma'am, she repeated with a softer tone in her voice. You sit down now and rise with the others. I sat down, dazed. I saw and heard nothing. When the others were asked to rise, I did not know it. When school was dismissed, I went out in a kind of stupor. A few of the white boys jeered me, saying, Oh, you're a *** to I heard some black Children say We knew he was colored, shiny, said to them, Come along, don't tease him and thereby won my undying gratitude. I hurried on as fast as I could and had gone some distance before I perceived that redhead was walking by my side. After a while, he said to me, Let me carry your books. I gave him my strap without being able to answer. When we got to my gate, he said, as he handed me my books. Say, you know my big Red Daggett. I can't shoot with it anymore. I'm gonna bring it to school for you tomorrow I took my books and ran into the house. As I passed through the hallway, I saw that my mother was busy with one of her customers. I rushed up into my own little room, shut the door and went quickly to wear. My looking glass hung on the wall for an instant. I was afraid to look, but when I did, I looked long and earnestly. I had often heard people say to my mother, What a pretty boy you have. I was accustomed to hear remarks about my beauty, but now, for the first time, I became conscious of it and recognized it. I noticed the ivory whiteness of my skin, the beauty of my mouth, the size and liquid darkness of my eyes and how the long black lashes that fringed and shaded them produced. In effect, that was strangely fascinating even to me. I noticed the softness and glossy nous of my dark hair that fell in waves over my temples, making my forehead appear whiter than it. Really. Waas How long I stood there gazing at my image. I do not know. When I came out and reached the head of the stairs, I heard the lady who had been with my mother going out. I ran downstairs and rushed to where my mother was. Sitting with a piece of work in her hands. I buried my head in her lap and blurted out, Mother, other tell me, um, I a ***. I could not see her face, but I knew the piece of work dropped to the floor, and I felt her hands on my head. I looked up into her face and repeated, Tell me, mother, am I a ***? There were tears in her eyes, and I could see that she was suffering for me. And then it was that I looked at her critically for the first time. I had thought of her in a childish way. Only is the most beautiful woman in the world now. I looked at her searching for defects. I could see that her skin was almost brown. That her hair was not so soft is mine that she did differ in some way from the other ladies who came to the house. Yet even so, I could see that she was very beautiful, more beautiful than any of them. She must have felt that I was examining her, for she hid her face with my hair and said with difficulty No, my darling, you're not a ***. She went on you as good as anybody. If anyone calls you a ***, don't notice them. But the more she talked, the less I was reassured. And I stopped her by asking, Well, mother and my white, Are you white? She answered trembling. Lee No, I am not white but you. Your father is one of the greatest men in the country. Best blood of the south is in you. This suddenly opened up in my heart a fresh chasm of misgiving and fear that I almost fiercely demanded Who is my father? Where is he? She stroked my hair and said, I'll tell you about him Sunday I sobbed. I want to know now. She answered. No, not now. Perhaps it had to be done, but I have never forgiven the woman who did it so cruelly. It may be that she never knew that she gave me a sword thrust that day in school, which was years in healing.