“No, I do not weep at the world – I am too busy sharpening my oyster knife.”
On a hot autumn afternoon on the shores of the Gulf Coast, my daily job is retrieving oyster meat for local restaurants which cater to the rich. None of these patrons want to know exactly who is retrieving these so called delicacies. If “they” ever saw a ragged colored girl with a knife, even to scrape out those special treats, they would probably run in fright or call the police.
This is the life of the shanty town girls, always a dream in their hearts, but shuffle down to the docks each morning to maintain a piece of dignity having a paying job. They don’t ask why, they are simply indoctrinated.
–Zora Neale Hurston, from “How Does it Feel to be Colored Me” in World Tomorrow (1928)