Author of the Harlem Renaissance, Zora Neale Hurston
Not only a talented author, but also a visionary who captured the fullness and variety of Black life, Zora Neale Hurston was a force to be reckoned with. She did not accept stereotypes about African Americans and instead gave her characters depth. Hurston secured her position in American history with her ground-breaking literary and anthropological works that presented a vivid portrayal of African American society. Her once-overlooked writing serves as a reminder of literature's ability to help us make sense of and revel in life's intricacies.
Zora Neale Hurston was a major figure in the 1920s and 1930s African American cultural movement known as the Harlem Renaissance. Her vivid depictions of African-American life and culture and her groundbreaking anthropological study had a significant impact on American literature.
Hurston was born on January 7, 1891, in Notasulga, Alabama, but she and her family later relocated to Eatonville, Florida, where she grew up. The community, one of the first all-Black, self-governing towns in the United States, would have a profound impact on Hurston's work. While living in New York City, Hurston was a leading figure of the Harlem Renaissance, where she worked with other notable Black intellectuals and artists to elevate African American voices and perspectives.
Hurston accomplished a great deal in literature and anthropology; she wrote four novels and well over fifty short stories, plays, and articles. Her most well-known piece, "Their Eyes Were Watching God," is praised for its powerful portrayal of Black womanhood. Hurston's writing skillfully portrayed the complexities of southern Black speech and portrayed her characters with integrity.
Hurston was devoted to anthropology in addition to her writing activities. She did extensive fieldwork in Black communities across the South and the Caribbean in an effort to document and archive African American traditions and customs, as depicted in her book "Mules and Men."
Hurston's effect and legacy will be felt long after her death. Despite the fact that she passed away in obscurity in 1960, writer Alice Walker helped revive interest in Hurston and her work in the 1970s. Her writings give vivid, nuanced portrayals of Black life, and she is now hailed as a literary trailblazer in the United States.