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Theme For English B

by
 The instructor said,

 Go home and write
 a page tonight.
And let that page come out of you-- Then, it will be true.
I wonder if it's that simple? I am twenty-two, colored, born in Winston-Salem.
I went to school there, then Durham, then here to this college on the hill above Harlem.
I am the only colored student in my class.
The steps from the hill lead down into Harlem, through a park, then I cross St.
Nicholas, Eighth Avenue, Seventh, and I come to the Y, the Harlem Branch Y, where I take the elevator up to my room, sit down, and write this page: It's not easy to know what is true for you or me at twenty-two, my age.
But I guess I'm what I feel and see and hear, Harlem, I hear you: hear you, hear me--we two--you, me, talk on this page.
(I hear New York, too.
) Me--who? Well, I like to eat, sleep, drink, and be in love.
I like to work, read, learn, and understand life.
I like a pipe for a Christmas present, or records--Bessie, bop, or Bach.
I guess being colored doesn't make me not like the same things other folks like who are other races.
So will my page be colored that I write? Being me, it will not be white.
But it will be a part of you, instructor.
You are white-- yet a part of me, as I am a part of you.
That's American.
Sometimes perhaps you don't want to be a part of me.
Nor do I often want to be a part of you.
But we are, that's true! As I learn from you, I guess you learn from me-- although you're older--and white-- and somewhat more free.
This is my page for English B.

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