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whiteness

Illustration by Rachel Levit-Ruiz

All That She Was

A genius of the South. An embarrassment to the race. Singular American author; craven literary con artist. She was a loving champion of Black vernacular; she was a mundane writer of facile prose. A misunderstood cultural icon; a perfect darkie. Survivor. Victim. Trickster, liar. These are the various lenses through which generations of critics, fans, scholars, and detractors have assessed the life of Zora Neale Hurston.

The Miracle Girl

On the first day of her stigmata, Xiao Chun’s palms bled so much that the school sent her home early. Xiao Xue sighed at this turn of events and gathered her things to follow her sister. Xiao Chun was already prettier, smarter, and more obedient—she just had to be holier too.

Wong Daifu, the village doctor, made a house call when he heard about the strange condition. He squinted at the puncture wounds, which were not round and smooth but thin ovals with fringes of red, protruding skin. “And you’re sure she didn’t hurt herself accidentally?” he asked.