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“In the kitchen cabinet is a bag of oranges for morning juice. Each orange is stamped ‘Color Added.’ The dyeing of an orange to make it orange is Man’s most impudent gesture to date. It is really an appalling piece of effrontery, carrying the clear implication that Nature doesn’t know what she is up to.

“There are two moving picture theaters in town. In one of them, colored people are allowed in the balcony. In the other, colored people are not allowed at all. I saw a patriotic newsreel there the other day that ended with a picture of the American flag blowing in the breeze, and the words: one nation indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. Everyone clapped, but I decided I could not clap for liberty and justice (for all) while I was in a theater from which Negroes had been barred. And I felt there were too many people in the world who think liberty and justice for all means liberty and justice for themselves and their friends.

“I have to laugh when I think about the sheer inconsistency of the Southern attitude about color: the Negro barred from the movie house because of color, the orange with ‘color added’ for its ultimate triumph. Some of the cities in this part of the State have fete days to commemorate the past and advertise the future, and in my mind I have been designing a float that I would like to enter in the parades. It would contain a beautiful Negro woman riding with the other bathing beauties and stamped with the magical words, Color Added.”

– EB White, “On a Florida Key”


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