Lines In The Dust – Monologue (Denitra)

A monologue from the play by Nikkole Salter

DENITRA (thirty-eight, African American)

Denitra Morgan is a determined 38-year-old mother, community college graduate, and an LVN at an urgent care center. 

After being exposed during a school enrollment audit, Denitra is confronted by the principal at her Newark apartment

for lying about her home address to enroll her daughter at Millburn High. After being asked by the principal,

“What were you thinking?” with respect to the lying, Denitra uses her personal experience in this speech

to counter Beverly’s implications that her actions were anything less than honorable and necessary to secure her daughter’s future.

Where’d you go to high school? I bet you were one of those special Negros they plucked from the hood concrete to refine.

I bet you were a part of some pet integration program where they bused you out to some white suburban bliss – 

You think you’re better than me, Beverly? With your three degrees? You think I didn’t work hard enough? You think I don’t deserve – ? (beat)

I was damn near the top of my high school class. Right here in this same neighborhood. I was a cheerleader. Volleyball. In youth and government.

I did everything by the book. I thought I was going to Harvard! I couldn’t figure out how I was the best thing since sliced bread at my school,

but I couldn’t break a thousand on the SATs. How I was acing three AP classes my senior year, but couldn’t pass the national AP tests. 

Why, when I’m forced to settle for Essex county college, they have me in remedial math and English. How can you graduate high school and need remedial anything? 

I couldn’t even register for some of the classes in my major ‘cause I didn’t meet those academic standards. I spent two years in remedial.

Embarrassed ‘cause I told everyone I was going to Harvard be a lawyer! And look at me! Look at me! “What was I thinking?”

I was thinking I didn’t want that for Noelle. I want her to know she that she meets the highest standards. 

I wanted her to be able to go to a top four-year institution where they prepare kids to be the leaders of this world.

Not the people who take your order. That’s what I was thinking. And I’m sorry. I’m sorry you got caught up.

It was not my intention. But I was not thinking about you.

Scroll to Top