Marjorie H Morgan

Researcher - Writer - Playwright


What Does Black Sound Like?

| By Marjorie Morgan

What does Black sound like?

Some of the following information is fact and some is fiction. I’ll let you decide which is which. Some incidents happened this week some happened decades ago. The events are not sequential … but they have been before.

Sometime I really want to be disappointed. You see I want my negative expectations to be disappointed, so I guess that is a good thing. I seem to remember some maths teacher saying ‘two negatives make a positive’ so that’s what I was looking for. I was looking for a positive out of a potentially negative situation.

This strange feeling of looking for disappointment came when I booked something online and followed up with a phone call. All was going well. Nothing to worry about you may think. And I agree, thus far. But then that familiar feeling arose.

It may be a touch of my own growing insecurity or it may be that enlightened awareness that we all have when we sense things we cannot see but we know they are present.

The deal was sealed. The special occasion confirmed.

I turned up at the appointed time.

The nagging sense of negativity was shadowing me like the pillar that went with the Israelites in the wilderness: it had always been there.

A final phone call to arrange being met at reception and there I was. There they were.

The maths teacher was right: ‘two negatives make a positive’ but one negative remains negative.

It was too hard for them to hide their shock.

“Oh! Ms Morgan? You don’t sound Black.”

“Yes. OK. What does Black sound like?”

“Well … not like you. You sound English.”

“That’s because I am, I am both: English and Black.”

“Oh, really? Where are you from?”


“No, I mean where are you from…”


“ Like I said … you didn’t sound Black.”

What does Black sound like? It sounds the same today as it did half a century ago. It sounds and looks like me… and many other people.

about the author

Marjorie H Morgan

Researcher, writer, playwright, journalist with an interest in the themes of history, society, identity, and home.