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Zora Neale Hurston - Author

Zora Neale Hurston claimed her birth date as January 7, 1901 and her birthplace as Eatonville, Florida; she was actually born on that date in the year 1891 in Notasulga, Alabama. Within the first year or two of her life, her family moved to all-black Eatonville. It was in Eatonville that John Hurston, Zora's father, was a carpenter and a preacher and was several times elected mayor of their town. The Eatonville community shaped Zora's life and her writing to a great deal.

Following the death of her mother, Lucy in 1904, young Zora despised her new stepmother and left home to work for a traveling theatre company. In 1917, she attended Morgan Academy in Baltimore to finish high school. Hurston entered Howard University in 1920 and studied there off and on for the next four years while working as a manicurist to support herself. While enrolled her first story appeared in Howard University's literary magazine in 1921 and she received recognition in 1925 when another story was accepted by the New York magazine Opportunity.. After winning second place in an Opportunity contest, she was encouraged Hurston to move to New York.

In New York Hurston became part the New Negro movement--later referred to as the Harlem Renaissance--attending parties with other notable African American writers such as Langston Hughes, Jessie Fauset, and Arna Bontemps. With her unique style and presence, Hurston made a name for herself in Harlem society, charming attentive audiences with her tales of Eatonville, Florida.

Hurston began taking classes at Barnard College working as an assistant to writer Fanny Hurst. At Barnard, she studied anthropology under the renowned scholar Franz Boas. Her particular interest was in the area of folklore, and her background in Eatonville provided her both with rich data for scholarly study and fine raw material for her writing. Over the next several years, Hurston would travel in the south, interviewing storytellers in Florida and Hoodoo doctors in New Orleans, all of which would feed into her writing.

Her novel Their Eyes Were Watching God was made into a TV movie in 2005. It was produced by Oprah Winfrey's production company. Hurston passed away January 28, 1960.


Color Struck (1925) in Opportunity Magazine
Sweat (1926)
How It Feels to Be Colored Me (1928)
Hoodoo in America (1931) in The Journal of American Folklore
The Gilded Six-Bits (1933)
Jonah's Gourd Vine (1934)
Mules and Men (1935)
Tell My Horse (1937)
Their Eyes Were Watching God (1937)
Moses, Man of the Mountain (1939)
Dust Tracks on a Road (1942)
Seraph on the Suwanee (1948)
I Love Myself When I Am Laughing...and Then Again When I Am Looking Mean and Impressive: A Zora Neale Hurston Reader (edited by Alice Walker; introduction by Mary Helen Washington) (1979)
Sanctified Church (1981)
Spunk: Selected Stories (1985)
Mule Bone: A Comedy of Negro Life (play, with Langston Hughes; edited with introductions by George Houston Bass and Henry Louis Gates, Jr., and the complete story of the Mule bone controversy.) (1991)
The Complete Stories (introduction by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and Sieglinde Lemke) (1995)
Barracoon (1999)

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Content copyright © 2018 by Jeanette Stingley. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Jeanette Stingley. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Jeanette Stingley for details.


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