Its a Shame to Be a Negro (Chapter 9, page 1 of 8)


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Chapter 9

New York It was the beginning of fall. I stood by the entrance of the subway, wearing old clothes. I played violin as bystanders threw some change in the violin case on the floor. It was six weeks after settling in New York, and life had manhandled me.

I was unable to get an audition. I became a drifter, playing violin in the subways or in the streets to be able to feed myself. It was the best way for me to beg. Sometimes I thought about giving up and returning home where I belonged, but I was on a mission.

After playing the last note, I bent down to count the change. I put the violin in the case and left. That night had been a success. I was given $10 even.

I went home, which was under the Washington Bridge. I slept there a lot.

When I reached there, I lied down and fell asleep because I was extremely weary.

Shop Finally, after a long period of struggle, I was allowed to audition for a Broadway play.

A day before the audition I went to a clothing shop where I used to sweep and mop the floor to see Mr. Paul. I walked into the store, carrying my violin in its case. The cashier, an elderly woman, was frightened when I ambled in. Perhaps she suspected that I was a thief and was there to rob the store.

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