This is an expert from one of my favorite authors, Zora Neale Hurston’s, autobiography, Dust Tracks on a Road. I fell in love with her language the first time I read her work. A paragraph is not enough to discuss her life. I’ll have another post to tell you more about her at a later date. Just as a quick overview, she was an author, folklorist and anthropologist, and part of the Harlem renaissance, who lived from 1891 – 1960.
Here she recounts a story of a woman, named Gold, who tells a tale about how the races were created. Zora enjoys Gold’s explanation “more than what I learned about race derivations later on in Ethnology.”
“God did not make folks all at once. He made folks sort of in His spare time. For instance one day He had a little time on his hands, so He got the clay, seasoned it the way he wanted it, then He laid it by and went on to doing something more important. Another day He had some spare moments, so He rolled it all out, and cut out the human shapes, and stood them all up against His long gold fence to dry while He did some important creating. The human shapes all got dry, ad when He found time, He blowed the breath of life in them. After that from time to time, He would call everybody up, and give them spare parts. For instance, one day he called everybody and gave out feet and eyes. Another time He give out toe-nails that Old Maker figured they could use. Anyhow, they had all that they got up to now. So then one day He say, “Tomorrow morning, at seven o’clock sharp, I aim to give out color. Everybody be here on time. I go plenty of creating to do tomorrow, and I want to give out this color and get it over wid. Everybody be ‘round de throne at seven o’clock tomorrow morning!”
So next morning at seven o’clock, God was siting on His throne with His big crown on His head and seven suns circling around His head. Great multitudes was standing around the throne waiting to get their color. God sat up there and looked, east, and He looked west, and He looked north an he looked Australia, and blazing worlds were falling of His teeth. So He looked over to His left and moved His hands over a crowd and said, “Youse yellow people!” They all bowed low and said, “Thank you , God,” and they went on off. He looked at another crowd, moved His hands over them and said, “Youse red folks!” They bowed low and said, “Much obliged, Jesus,” and they went on of. The God looked way over to the right and said, “Look here, Gabriel, I miss a lot of multitudes from around the throne this morning.” Gabriel looked too, and said, “Yessir, there’s a heap of multitudes missing from round de throne this morning.” So God sat there an hour and a half and waited. Then He called Gabriel and said, “Looka here, Gabriel, I’m sick and tired of this waiting. I got plenty of creating to do this morning. You go find them folks and tell ‘em they better hurry on up here and they expect to get any color. Fool with me, and I won’t give out no more.”
So Gabriel run on off and started to hunting around. Way after while, he found the missing multitudes lying around on the grass by the Sea of Life, fast asleep. So Gabriel woke them up and told them “You better get up from there and come on up to the throne and get your color. Old Maker is might wore out from waiting. Fool with Him and He won’t give out no more color.”
So as the multitudes heard that, they all jumped up and went running towards the throne hollering, “Give us our color! We want our color! We got just s much right to color as anybody else.” So when the first ones got to the throne, they tried to stop and be polite. But the ones coming on from behind got to pushing and shoving so till the first ones got shoved all up against the throne so till the throne was careening all over to one side. So God said “Here! Here! Git back! Git back!” But they was keeping up such a racket that they misunderstood Him, and thought He said “Git black!” So they just go black, and kept the thing agoing.”