Race & Racism at the University of Richmond

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This poem is a celebration of the narrator's "angel," a black woman with "coca skin" and "dark softness." It was the only poem by a black student in the 1984 Messenger.

This poem by a white student tells of the race dynamics of a public bus. It contrasts young students from St. Catherine's with black riders as the bus enters a poorer section of the city. The narrator claims that she is the only one who acknowledges…

In this short story, a woman named Rebecca reflects on her new life in Africa while hitchhiking with a man named Jeff, who is described as "weather-tanned." His race is not identified. After he stops on the side of the road, he begins to make…

The narrator of this poem expresses his identity as part of a "colossal being" of black people, preferring the collective 'we' to the singular 'I.' He explores slavery as "the torture that was endured for years and still / Silently exists today"…

2001 marked the first year that the Messenger was an entirely student-run publication, as it was the first year students designed the magazine rather than outsourcing the task to a Washington, D.C., designer. Using the design program Quark Xpress,…

This poem, narrated by "the slave's dream and hope," attacks the idea of "good hair" as a superior, more acceptable alternative to natural black hair. It asserts that good hair should have been left on the plantations, and compares it to the song…

The author of this poem claims that she is "an Asian who wants to be white" and begins the poem with the choice, "I want to be more American." When asked what's stopping her, though, she responds, "That's not who I am." The root of her desire to be…

This short story takes place in Guatemala and explains the folktale of esperanza, or hope. A boy named Miguelito first discovers an esperanza bug, then accidentally kills it while fighting his older brother. However, nobody seems to care as much as…

The author of this piece reflects on being "more American" than she thought when seeing black men in the news, likely after the killing of an unarmed black man, while she's out of the country. She states that, even though America is her home, it…

The writer of this piece questions her black identity in the form of asking if she is allowed to say the "n word." While she feels unable to because of her middle/upper class upbringing, she relays anecdotes such as her sister straightening her hair…
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