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Happy Birthday Zora Neale Hurston!

07 Jan

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Born on January 7, 1891 in Alabama (but later adopting  Eatonville, Florida as her hometown),  Zora Neale Hurston established herself during the Harlem Renaissance as an African American folklorist. Her most popular work is “Their Eyes Were Watching God,” which was eventually turned into a tv movie starring Halle Berry. Hurston’s skill with storytelling and use of dialect are unsurpassed. Her stories are passionate and layered with just a touch of mysticism.

Unfortunatley she died forgotten and destitute and was buried in an unmarked grave in Florida in 1960. Years, later “Color Purple” author Alice Walker went in search of her grave and gave her a proper headstone. Walker wrote about the experience in a piece called “In Search of Zora Neal Hurston.”

I definitely count Ms. Hurston as an inspiration and I am very grateful that she was able to blaze a path for women in literature even though she never fully received the fruits of her labor. Oh and her hat game was fierce.

Happy birthday Ms. Hurston!

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6 Comments

Posted by on January 7, 2009 in Black History, Reading

 

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6 responses to “Happy Birthday Zora Neale Hurston!

  1. embrownny

    January 7, 2009 at 9:52 pm

    She is one of my favorites. I’ve read “Their Eyes Were Watching God” twice so far. Thanks for this information. I do know that some of the male writers were very much against her for writing “Their Eyes Were Watching God” because she chose to use the dialect of the people. It was seen as a step backward for black people. “The Gilded Six-Bits” is also a great short story if you haven’t read it.

    It’s so sad that some many of talented artists/writers died with nothing.

     
  2. loveisdope

    January 8, 2009 at 11:43 am

    I haven’t read that. I’ll have to check that out. Yeah, it is sad that someone so talented could die the way she died. Reading about that again made me think about some of my favorite writers now. I’m making a list and I’m going to send little emails (or maybe even snail mail notes) to them. It will probably be read by some assistant somewhere, but at least I can acknowledge them while they are here besides just buying their books.

     
  3. johnny

    January 10, 2009 at 4:58 pm

    yes! i love their eyes were watching god and i have a lot of respect for zora neale hurston!

     
  4. Melbe

    February 12, 2010 at 3:12 pm

    I showed the film version ( starring Halle Berry) to all my University students in Mainland China. The students were so touched by the story, I know they will never forget Ms. Hurstons’ story.

     
  5. Stephanie

    February 24, 2010 at 10:58 am

    Sorry to tell you this, but your information is incorrect. New evidence has been discovered that puts her place of birth in Notasulga, Alabama. Wonderful article, I just thought I would edit that part for you, so that you can have up-to-date information.

     
  6. loveisdope

    February 24, 2010 at 11:04 am

    Thanks for the info! Yeah, I read that somewhere. Later in life she began claiming Eatonville as her birthplace and it certainly is the place that most shaped her and her future stories perhaps. I’ll add that in though. 😉

    -D

     

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