My Most Humiliating Jim Crow Experience

Hurston, Zora Neale

Primary Category: Literature / Nonfiction

Genre: Essay

Annotated by:
Secundy, Marian Gray
  • Date of entry: May-08-2006
  • Last revised: Dec-11-2006


A brief, but to the point description of Zora Neale Hurston's visit to the office of a white physician in the mid 1900's. In a very few words, she provides a description of blatant racism. Although referred by a white friend, Hurston is badly received by a white nurse and physician. Separated from the other patients, she is placed in a closet-like waiting area with soiled towels and uniforms. The physician shows significant lack of interest in this patient, examining her in a rushed and desultory manner.


Hurston, a black writer and anthropologist, is considered to be the most productive black female author. This short essay is a catalyst/trigger for a discussion of how negative attitudes toward patients can influence perceptions and willingness to seek health care. An opportunity is provided as well to develop more of a factual base regarding the black experience with segregated health care delivery systems.

Primary Source

I Love Myself When I Am Laughing . . . and Then Again When I Am Looking Mean and Impressive



Place Published

New York



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