55 pages 1 hour read

Zakiya Dalila Harris

The Other Black Girl

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 2021

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Prologue-Part 1Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Prologue Summary

In December 1983 on a train car at New York’s Grand Central Station, an unnamed narrator, later revealed to be famous literary editor Kendra Rae Phillips, scratches anxiously at her burning scalp and peers suspiciously at her fellow passengers. Kendra Rae is a highly visible Black public figure whose name is currently “being dragged through the papers” because of controversial remarks she gave in an interview (3), and she is paranoid that someone might recognize her.

As she waits for the train to depart, Kendra Rae fixates on what caused her to flee New York so suddenly: “What I’d overheard her say to him on the phone. Imani says it’s not supposed to burn (3). She wonders how long she can remain hidden and continues to scratch at her scalp, lost in thought, until she is startled by the conductor, who has come by to collect her fare. As she asks for a ticket to Poughkeepsie, the northernmost stop on the line, the conductor recognizes her from the newspaper. Kendra Rae denies her identity, and the conductor continues collecting fares. Kendra Rae leans wearily against the train window, her scalp still burning.

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