Aug. 11, 2020

August 11, 1955 "Zora Neale Hurston Speaks Out Against The Brown Decision"

Zora Neale Hurston was certainly no integrationist when it came to school integration. She was of the mind that why force yourself on a race that didn't want to be near you. In this post, you will see that Zora wasn't a proponent of following that old white mare.
64 years ago today Zora Neale Hurston wrote a​ historic letter to the editor of ​the Orlando Sentinel. In that letter which actually seems now quite prophetic​ . Zora Neale Hurston railed against the unanimous​ 1954 Brown versus the Board of Education, Topeka, Kansas which ruled that separate but equal schools were unconstitutional. As we look at this court decision from the prism of 2019. It seems that Zora was on to something because public schools are seemingly more segregated​ now than they were a decade after the Brown decision. In the letter,​ Zora Neale Hurston used the wise tale of the white mare and the mule. It seems that a mule will follow a white mare anywhere.

For this reason, I regard the ruling of the U.S. Supreme Court as insulting rather than honoring my race. Since the days of the never-to-be-sufficiently deplored Reconstruction, there has been current the belief that there is no great[er] delight to Negroes than physical association with whites. The doctrine of the white mare. Those familiar with the habits of mules are aware that any mule, if not restrained, will automatically follow a white mare. Dishonest mule-traders made money out of this knowledge in the old days.

"Lead a white mare along a country road and slyly open the gate and the mules in the lot would run out and follow this mare. This ruling being conceived and brought forth in a sly political medium with eyes on ’56, and brought forth in the same spirit and for the same purpose, it is clear that they have taken the old notion to heart and acted upon it. It is a cunning opening of the barnyard gate wit[h] the white mare ambling past. We are expected to hasten pell-mell after her."