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Warren Smith sat down on his worn-out mustard-yellow sofa after a strenuous day of assembling clocks at the Warkowski Clocks factory. He carefully examined his dark brown hands, finding them laden with cuts and calluses. Being a factory worker wasn't exactly his choice occupation, but it was the best he could do. There were very few jobs a colored man from New York could get in 1891. He considered himself quite fortunate to even be earning a wage.
His wife Rashel sat down beside him and greeted him with a kiss. She instantly became worried, seeing that Warren's mind was elsewhere. "What's wrong, baby?" she softly queried.
"It's those dang white men," he ranted, "they don't do crap, but they's still bringin' home the bacon. I be bustin' my a** 'til I can't do no more, and I get nothin'." Noticing the anger in his voice, Rashel lightly stroked his thigh, trying to placate him with her affection.
Their nine-year-old daughter Camella emerged from the doorway, admitting she had overheard the entire conversation, then suggesting Warren should address the issue to his boss.
"He ain't gonna listen to me," laughed Warren, "'case you hasn't noticed, I ain't white." He apologetically kissed her forehead.
"He hired you, didn't he? And you's the best one there!" Rashel reasoned. Camella grinned, delighted that someone agreed with her. Warren sighed, exhibiting defeat.
The next day, Warren was surprised when his boss, Jim Warkowski, requested his presence in his office. Warren nervously followed Jim there, then sat on the opposite side of Jim's desk so that they were facing each other. Suddenly, Warren grew pale and his legs began to tremble. He knew that nobody was invited to Jim's office unless they were going to be expelled from their job.
"Please don't fire me!" Warren blurted, breaking the silence.
"Fire you?" Jim chuckled, "I was going to increase your salary!"
"What?" Warren inquired, his expression simultaneously spelling relief and shock.
"I believe a man should be judged by the quality of his work, not the color of his skin. And the quality of your work is far better than any white man I've ever seen."
"Thanks much, sir" Warren said as he shook Jim's hand. He couldn't wait to get home and share the success with his wife and daughter.
A few hours later, Rashel and Camella were anxiously anticipating the outcome of Warren's meeting. "Did you talk to him?" they both interrogated as soon as he arrived.
"Actually, he talked to me," Warren explained, "I gots the raise without even askin'." Rashel and Camella both made their pride evident as they trapped him in a hug and never let go.