Posted in Short Stories

Sterling Brown: And/Or

Deal Me In 2021 – Week 11

…he understood that the property qualification was alternative to the literacy qualification. He was told he was wrong…

With methodical determination, Houston attempts to register to vote in a small Alabama town in Sterling Brown’s short story “And/Or”. The written law connects two qualifications with the word “or”. Houston meets one of them. The Board of Registrars says he needs to meet both.

Houston’s back and forth and round and round, to a degree, could be considered humorous because of how ridiculous the situation becomes. The ending could be considered a punchline if the reader really wants to consider Houston’s plight funny.

This story is included in Black American Short Stories: A Century of the Best edited by John Henrik Clarke. I read it when I selected the Six of Clubs for Week 11 of my Deal Me In 2021 short story project. Check out my Deal Me In list here. Deal Me In is hosted by Jay at Bibliophilopolis.

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