Zora Neale Hurston’s tragic 1926 play Color Struck is a thought-provoking commentary on colorism within the Black community.
Set in Florida in 1900, Colour Struck begins on a Jim Crow train carriage. Barely making the train, Emma and John’s journey commences with an argument. Emma saw John speaking to a lighter-skinned Black woman, Effie, and was immediately jealous, assuming he was flirting. Throughout the play Emma continues to display animosity towards those with lighter skin, which often results in calamity.
Exploring themes of colorism, self-destruction, and hatred, Zora Neale Hurston’s 1926 tragedy comments on intra-racial racism and warns of the adverse effects of harbouring hatred. Color Struck was first published in Fire!! magazine and won second prize in the Opportunity magazine’s contest for best play. Now republished in a new edition, Hurston’s play is not one to be missed by those with an interest in Harlem Renaissance literature.