Can I Touch Your Hair?
On bein’ black in New Mexico
Now, granted, I am not from ’round here. I was born a poor and upwardly mobile working class “colored” child (says so on my birth certificate!) in August of 1963, in the South, in segregated Portsmouth, Va., in an integrated military hospital that sits to this day along the Elizabeth River. You can see the city of Norfolk on the other side of that river. Until the transcontinental slave trade ended legally in the U.S., Virginia, and Portsmouth in particular, was also an essential part of a triangle of the trade in human misery from West Africa to the Caribbean.